Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations began Thursday with the ‘Trooping the Colour’ ceremony.

Also known as the King or Queen’s Birthday Parade, it is a 17th-century tradition in which British infantry regiments organize an elaborate parade. During this parade, the monarch inspects the troops and gives them a royal salute.

It was formally kept as an annual tradition marking the sovereign’s birthday in the reign of George IV (1762-1830).

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King George II (1683-1760) was the first who started the tradition of having two birthdays. Successive monarchs have had the option to keep this tradition.

While the Trooping the Colour is mainly ceremonial, it’s also an important part of military history with the purpose in terms of providing an opportunity for troops to practice drills and cooperate with other regiments.

During this ceremony, the Queen can be seen in her capacity as head of the armed forces.

There are several traditions associated with Trooping the Colour. The first one is carried out in the presence of the sovereign. In case the sovereign is incapacitated or out of the country, a senior member of the royal family carries out the ceremony.

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The ceremony is held each year in Horse Guards Parade, which stands at the eastern end of St James’s Park. For Trooping the Colour, grandstands are set up around the parameter of the parade ground and sand is put down to stop the horses.

Over 1,400 soldiers take part in the parade in addition to 200 horses and 400 musicians.

This year for the event, the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards will have their colour trooped. The queen is the Irish Guards’ Colonel in Chief and Prince William was made Colonel of the Regiment by his grandmother. 

Prince William is second in line to the British throne after his father Prince Charles.

During the parade, a gun salute took place after which the royals processed back to Buckingham Palace along The Mall for the special balcony appearance.

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Earlier, many members of the immediate and extended royal family, including members of foreign royal families, have appeared on the Trooping the Colour balcony. However, this year Buckingham Palace announced that only members of the royal family who undertake official duties on behalf of the queen will be invited. This ruled out Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.