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Queen Elizabeth II’s Traditional Birthday Parade Canceled for Second Year in a Row Amid COVID-19

Safety first. Queen Elizabeth II will not be marking her upcoming 95th birthday with the traditional Trooping the Color parade for the second year in a row amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Buckingham Palace confirmed on Friday, March 19, that the annual event has been canceled. “Following consultation with Government and other relevant parties it has been agreed that The Queen’s Official Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead this year in its traditional form in central London,” the statement read. “Options for an alternative Parade, in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, are being considered.”

While the queen’s birthday falls on April 21, the celebration is always held during the second weekend in June. The annual Garter service, which typically occurs at St George’s Chapel after the parade, will also not take place.

Queen Elizabeth II's Traditional Birthday Parade Canceled for Second Year in a Row Amid COVID-19
Queen Elizabeth II James Gourley/Shutterstock

Last year, the monarch was forced to alter her birthday plans as stay-at-home orders were enforced in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis. Instead of her usual fanfare, Her Majesty was honored with “a small, brief ceremony at Windsor Castle” in June 2020.

Two months before Buckingham Palace announced the change in the queen’s schedule, The Sunday Times reported that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were expected to return to the U.K. for the Trooping the Colour for the first time since their last engagement as senior royals in March 2020. The couple, who tied the knot in May 2018, initially exited their senior roles in January 2020. They relocated to California with their son, Archie, now 22 months, two months later.

Related: Biggest Royal Family Scandals Through the Years

In February, the palace revealed that Harry, 36, and the Suits alum, 39, “will not be returning as working members of the royal family.” Days earlier, the duo announced that Meghan is pregnant with their second child after experiencing a miscarriage last summer.

When news broke of the pair’s permanent exit from their royal responsibilities, a source told Us Weekly that “the queen was hoping that they’d return,” but had come to terms with her youngest grandson’s decision.

The drama continued for the royal family earlier this month when Harry and Meghan sat down for an eye-opening interview on CBS, their first since settling down in the U.S. last year. During the explosive tell-all, the former military pilot and his wife detailed everything from the tolls royal life took on their mental health to an unnamed relative’s “concerns” about Archie’s skin color before he was born.

Related: A Timeline of Meghan Markle’s Ups and Downs With the Royal Family

According to a source, the queen “has been in constant crisis meetings” since the Sussexes claims made headlines.

“The queen has always had a soft spot for Harry and looked out for him, so [she] is incredibly hurt and shocked that it has come to this,” the insider added. “She’s trying to be understanding and see things from Harry’s perspective, but the allegations he and Meghan have made are hard for her to digest. The interview has wreaked havoc on the royal family.”

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