SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Mini Trooping the Colour' is to take place

Will Queen’s curtain twitch for birthday royal parade? ‘Mini Trooping the Colour’ is to take place at Windsor Castle

This summer is already unlike any other in her 68-year reign, with Buckingham Palace garden parties cancelled and all other public engagements abandoned.

But there is to be one consolation for the Queen, who’s been self-isolating at Windsor.

For although Trooping the Colour — the ceremonial event of the year — will not take place on Horse Guards Parade, I can reveal an unprecedented miniature version is to go ahead after all, at Windsor on Saturday, June 13, Her Majesty’s official birthday.

The parade, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Llewelyn-Usher, will involve a small contingent of men from his regiment, the Welsh Guards, accompanied by a rather diminished group of the massed Bands of the Household Division.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York watch a flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England

There will, I’m told, be a Royal Salute to Her Majesty at 11am exactly, as there would have been on Horse Guards.

There will, however, be almost no spectators at the parade, which will be held in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle. ‘The BBC are due to cover it live,’ I’m told, ‘but there will be no stands and no one watching — other, that is, than anyone watching from inside the Castle.’

The Duke of Edinburgh, who celebrates his 99th birthday three days earlier, will be among them, having moved from Sandringham to Windsor before the beginning of lockdown.

Queen Elizabeth II rides Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park over the weekend. The Queen has been in residence at Windsor Castle during the coronavirus pandemic

Major Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone leading the Parade down the Mall in London, ahead of the Trooping the Colour ceremony, June 8 2019 

It is not known whether other members of the Royal Family will take advantage of the easing of lockdown to watch from socially distanced vantage points within the Castle grounds.

It would be a bittersweet moment for the Duke of York (pictured) if he managed to do so. Though currently Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, he would have been absent from the Trooping if it had gone ahead as usual, as I disclosed a while ago, because of the difficulties which have engulfed him since his BBC interview about his friendship with deceased American financier Jeffrey Epstein.

A Palace spokesman tells me: ‘There will be a small, brief military ceremony at Windsor Castle to mark The Queen’s official birthday.’ Media arrangements are to be confirmed.

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