All eyes on Kate at Trooping the Colour

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The Independent Online

The Duchess of Cambridge watched with pride today as her husband took part in one of the world's greatest spectacles of pageantry and pomp in honour of the Queen.

The Trooping the Colour ceremony is the monarch's official birthday parade but all eyes were on the new Duke and Duchess playing prominent roles in the event for the first time.

Amid the splendour of the military display William rode faultlessly on his grey charger while Kate took her place with other members of the Royal Family as a spectator.

For decades the Queen has been the focus of the ceremony staged every June in London's historic Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.

This year the event marked the 85th birthday of the Sovereign who has reigned over the country since 1952.

The Duchess reprised her royal wedding carriage procession of less than six weeks ago riding in a horse drawn Barouche with Prince Harry - in his Blues and Royals uniform and Army Air Corps blue beret - Duchess of Cornwall and Duke of York.

The group were cheered loudly by thousands of well wishers as they travelled from Buckingham Palace along The Mall and into Horse Guards Parade.

Kate, who is fast becoming a fashion icon, was dressed in an ivory jacket and an elaborate black hat and as she travelled in the carriage. She had a tartan quilt over her knees as did Camilla.

Amongst the guests were the Earl and Countess of Wessex, their seven-year-old daughter Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, Princess Eugenie and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The precision marching by hundreds of Guardsmen taking part was also enjoyed by their families and friends who watched from stands overlooking the parade ground.

William took part in the ceremony as he is now Colonel of the Irish Guards and wore the famous scarlet tunic of his new regiment and bearskin hat.

He rode the charger Wellesley aged only seven but mature enough to take centre stage with the other prominent Household Division horses.

The Queen arrived in an Ivory Mounted Phaeton with the Duke of Edinburgh, who celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday and was dressed in uniform as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

As she travelled in her carriage behind her on horseback and wearing ceremonial military uniform were the Prince of Wales, Colonel Welsh Guards, the Duke of Kent, Colonel Scots Guards, the Princess Royal, Colonel of the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals and William in his new role.

They were accompanied by a Sovereign's Escort formed of soldiers from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in their shining breastplates and plumed helmets and the Mounted Bands of the Household Cavalry.

The Monarch first took the royal salute in 1951, when she deputised for her ill father George VI, and has continued receiving the mark of respect every year except 1955 when there was a national rail strike.