Meghan steps out for queen's birthday celebration
Military pomp and pageantry was on display in Britain yesterday to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday - and new mother Meghan Markle made her first public appearance since giving birth.
The birthday was marked with the Trooping the Colour ceremony which saw some of Britain's most prestigious regiments stage the centuries-old spectacle. And among the royals was Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, attending her first official royal engagement since giving birth to son Archie just over four weeks ago.
The duchess has been on maternity leave caring for her baby born at a private London hospital on May 6, and Harry has already spoken about how parenthood has changed their lives, saying he cannot imagine life without his son.
It was rumoured that the infant was inside the palace, close to his parents as they undertook their duties.
Meghan joined Harry, Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall) and Kate (Duchess of Cambridge) in a coach that was greeted by crowds on the Mall. Her attendance had not been confirmed in advance, with questions over whether an appearance at would only emphasise her absence during the Trumps' visit just days before.
Wearing a dress by Clare Waight Keller and hat by Noel Stewart, along with what appeared to be a third ring next to her engagement and wedding rings, she was seen on the balcony in conversation with fellow newlyweds Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.
Kate wore a pale yellow Alexander McQueen number.
The queen arrived in a procession full of pomp and pageantry. Trooping the Colour is a social as well as a ceremonial occasion and in the stands overlooking the parade ground were the wives, girlfriends and parents of the guardsmen on parade.
Harry, Meghan, Kate and the other royals - including the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children, as well as Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor - watched events from Wellington's office overlooking Horse Guards. Among the guests was Theresa May who formally stepped down as PM last Friday.
Soon after the queen arrived on the parade ground a horse could be seen running across the open space - after apparently unseating its rider.
Colours, or flags, were then carried, or 'trooped', down the rank so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers. In the 18th Century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to "troop the colours", and from 1748 the parade also marked the monarch's official birthday. However Elizabeth's actual birthday was on April 21 when she turned 93.
Each guardsman who takes part in the pageant will have had trod more than 430km in rehearsals - in the process taking more than half-a-million steps.