Prince William and Kate Middleton’s three children played a very important role in the kickoff celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee weekend marking the 96-year-old monarch’s astounding 70 years on the throne.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s kids ― Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis ― participated in the carriage ride for the queen’s Trooping the Colour celebrations for the very first time.
The event is the official celebration for the monarch’s birthday, and also included 1,500 soldiers and officers, 400 musicians, 250 horses and 70 aircraft.
George, Charlotte and Louis rode in a carriage alongside their mom and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The three young ones dressed in coordinated shades of blue, and excitedly waved to parade onlookers.
The children have participated in Trooping the Colour before, waving from a balcony with other members of the royal family. But this was their first time taking part in the carriage ride.
The young royals were among other carriages containing Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and their two children, and Adm. Tim Laurence, the husband of Princess Anne.
Following their carriage ride, the royals joined fellow family members at the Major General’s Office, where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were watching the parade. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their two children ― Archie and Lilibet ― made the trip to the U.K. from their current home in Montecito, California.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles was joined by his sister, Princess Anne, and his son, Prince William, to inspect the troops of the Household Division on the queen’s behalf.
The queen herself did not participate in the parade. She has been experiencing mobility issues as of late and took her salute from the Buckingham Palace balcony. She was joined by her cousin, the Duke of Kent.
The monarch reappeared on the balcony later for the Royal Air Force fly-past alongside working members of the royal family: Charles and Camilla; William, Kate, and their three children; Edward, the Countess of Wessex and their two children; Anne and Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester; and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
Buckingham Palace announced in a statement in May that only working royal family members could appear on the balcony. That excluded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and the disgraced Prince Andrew.
Despite their exclusion, the Sussexes released a statement, shared with HuffPost, that they were “excited and honoured to attend The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children.”
The Thursday festivities officially kick off the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which will extend until Sunday. The queen released a statement ahead of the festivities, alongside a new official portrait to mark the occasion.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth,” she wrote.
“I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions,” the queen added.
“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”