This past weekend was filled with a lot of firsts for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as husband and wife. The couple were seen for the first time together since returning from their honeymoon and made their debut on the iconic Buckingham Palace balcony.
Harry and the former actress joined the pageantry of the annual Trooping the Color ceremony Saturday in London to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday.
The duke and duchess, who married three weeks ago, made the short trip from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade in a horse-drawn carriage as royal fans lining the Mall cheered and waved.
The couple later joined other members of the royal family on the palace's front balcony to watch the Royal Air Force fly by.
As the aerobatic display team, the Red Arrows, released plumes of red, white and blue smoke over the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the queen's great-grandchildren waved wildly. She smiled — both at the jets and the children.
The 92-year-old queen, whose real birthday is April 21, seemed vigorous as she keenly observed the event.
The monarch, who recently had a successful cataract operation, watched the ceremony from a dais and inspected the guardsmen in bearskin hats and scarlet tunics.
One guardsman stood out: Charanpreet Singh Lall, a 22-year-old Sikh from Leicester, who wore a black turban. It marked the first time a member of the Coldstream Guards took part wearing a turban — and Lall hoped it wouldn't be the last.
"I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history," he said. "I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, that they will be encouraged to join the Army."
Trooping the Color is a ceremony deeply rooted in the history of the United Kingdom. It originated from traditional preparations for battle when flags, or colors, were "trooped" so soldiers in the ranks would be able to recognize them.
Thousands of spectators flocked to London for the annual spectacle, hoping to catch a glimpse of the glittering house of Windsor, jamming the royal parks near the parade grounds.
The Duchess of Sussex, as Meghan is now known, wore a Carolina Herrera dress and a hat by Philip Treacy.
The Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton who is married to Harry's older brother Prince William, wore a dress by Alexander McQueen and a hat by Juliette Botterill.
Harry and William were in military dress uniforms.
The queen, who wore a sky blue coat and dress by Stuart Parvin and a hat by Angela Kelly, traveled alone in an Ascot Landau. The queen's husband, 96-year-old Prince Philip, has retired from royal duties.
Some 7,500 guests joined the monarch at Horse Guards, with prime seats accorded to U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Britain's Defense Secretary, Gavin Williamson.
The military precision of the parade unraveled slightly at the end of the day when the former chief of the defense staff, Charles Guthrie, 79, was thrown from his horse. He received medical attention.
As for the Duchess of Sussex, we're going to be seeing a lot more of her as she embraces her new role within the royal family.
Meghan will be joining the Queen on June 14 for her first full day of public engagements since the wedding. It will mark the first time that the twosome take part in official activities together without any other royals present.
The monarch and the new duchess will travel by the royal train to attend the official opening of the Storyhouse Theatre in Cheshire. They will also enjoy lunch at Chester Town Hall before officially taking part in the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
The Kensington Palace has also announced that Meghan and Harry will be embarking on an official tour of Australia, Fihi, the Kingdom of Tonga, and New Zealand this fall.
The couple will be visiting the countries around the time of the Invictus Games, which will take place from October 20-27.
Harry, a British military veteran who served in Afghanistan, created the Paralympic-style games as a way to inspire wounded soldiers toward recovery. About 550 competitors from 17 countries competed in 12 sports during the event in Canada last year.
The newlyweds made their first official debut as a couple at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.
[H/T: The Associated Press]