The Duke of Cambridge has overseen final preparations for next week’s Trooping the Colour ceremony.
The colour of the Irish Guards will be trooped at this year’s event and William, as Colonel of the Regiment, led the full dress rehearsal at Horse Guards Parade on Saturday.
William, on horseback, oversaw the 90-minute rehearsal for the annual military spectacle which will this year kick off the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations during the long bank holiday weekend.
The Queen, who is 96, has mobility issues and now uses a walking stick.
It would be a rare absence during her 70-year reign if she did not to attend the central London ceremony on June 2 which marks the monarch’s official birthday.
It is believed the Queen could view the ceremony from a raised platform but Buckingham Palace has said her presence at the Jubilee events may not be confirmed until the day.
If the Queen does delegate her salute duties at Trooping the Colour, which has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for more than 260 years, then her eldest son, the Prince of Wales, may take her place.
Charles, The Princess Royal and William would take part in the event on horseback.
On Saturday, William watched as more than 1,500 soldiers and 350 horses carried out complex battlefield drill manoeuvres.
They included Devon-based trooper Samuel Wallace, 24, who is the first practising Rastafarian in the Household Guards.
The Army views him as one of its most impressive junior soldiers and he has been made part of the royal escort team for the ceremony.
More than 7,000 guests watched as the soldiers and military horses carried out some of the most challenging drills to a programme of music.
They are braced in ceremonial positions for most of the ceremony and it is the culmination of hours of practice and attention to detail.
The music included Slattery’s Mounted Fut, a favourite tune of the late Queen Mother, and Long Live Elizabeth, in tribute to The Queen, an Army spokesman said.
In addition to the familiar traditional regimental marches there were Irish folk songs and a new composition just for the event – called Bob’s Own – named in honour of the first Colonel of the Irish Guards, Field Marshal Lord Roberts.
This will be the first full Trooping of the Colour on Horse Guards for three years.
The 1st Battalion Irish Guards received their new colours from William in a ceremony at Windsor Castle earlier this month.
Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew Stokes, who is charge of planning the parade, said: “It is a big day in the calendar.
“I think there is more pressure because it is the start of such a significant week.
“We need to set the right tone. We are aiming for excellence and hoping the public will get involved and feel there are moments in (the Jubilee celebrations) for them.”
Lieutenant Charles Bashall 24, who will carry the Colour on parade, said it is “an incredible privilege” to be part of the Jubilee event especially as “there may never be one again.”
Saturday’s final rehearsal followed the Major General’s review on Saturday May 21 during which three people were taken to hospital after sections of the spectator stands collapsed.
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