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The one piece of tradition missing from Trooping the Colour 2018

For yesterday’s Trooping of the Colour, this American got up after a few hours of sleep to watch. I was curious to see the newly minted Duchess of Sussex in her very first “Trooping.” Secondly, I wanted to see Catherine and her adorable little Cambridges on the balcony.

For me, the kids are the best parts of things like this because we don’t get to see them as often as we would like to. But that’s another subject for another day.

If you are new to Royal watching, Trooping of the Colour is the annual celebration of The Queen’s birthday, which is actually in April. The tradition, which dates back to King George II, combines the reigning Monarch’s birthday celebration and the summer military march. I have always understood this was because of better weather chances in Britain and it does make sense!

The highlights are seeing the Royals in their carriages zooming down the streets with the waving crowds and the biggest, most exciting part is the gathering of the family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for a very impressive fly-by of Royal Air Force aircraft over the Palace.

The part I didn’t expect was seeing The Queen in her carriage alone.

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It filled me with sadness. I absolutely hated seeing her ride by herself.

After 70+ years of marriage, the longest Royal marriage in British history, The Queen was riding alone. She didn’t look like her usual, bright and smiling self. I can’t say that I don’t blame her.

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The Duke, at the age of 97 today, has been showing some signs of wearing down, and who wouldn’t be at the age of 97?

Following a hip replacement earlier this year, he has been seen out and about at Windsor and of course, at the most recent wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, looking very well.

I thought for certain he would be on the balcony, gathering with the rest of the family. I can certainly understand how a carriage ride through the streets of London might have been hard on a new hip, so I tried not to worry much. But he wasn’t on the balcony either.

Last year, The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties. I knew from that point on we wouldn’t be seeing him opening places or visiting his patronages. But I didn’t think we would be missing him from the big things, like Trooping the Colour.

I can’t help but wonder if this is the new normal.

At some point, The Queen will be slowing down even more and a new generation of Royals will be taking her place, little by little. Really it’s already begun.

Even at the age of 92, The Queen has always been looking very fit and not at all her age. But yesterday in that carriage, she looked very small and 92 to me.

Whatever the reason for Prince Phillip’s absence, I hope he is well and has a very happy birthday. Hopefully, there is a celebration for him today. He certainly deserves it.

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