The Queen

Queen's Official Birthday: Soldiers Reflect On Being Part Of Celebrations

1st Battalion Welsh Guards were joined by a reduced Massed Band of the Household Division for the ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Guardsmen from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards have led the Queen's official birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.

The drills included the colour being paraded in front of the servicemen.

In line with coronavirus social distancing measures, personnel stood 2.2m apart – measured by three turns of the pace stick.

The ceremony ended with a second royal salute followed by the Guardsmen and the military musicians marching from the quadrangle.

The Windsor Castle Guard then returned to the guardroom to resume guard duty.

Welsh Guards on St David's Day 010320 CREDIT BFBS
Welsh Guards mark St David's Day on 1 March 2020.

It was the first event of its type in Windsor for the sovereign’s birthday since 1895.

Garrison Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 1 Andrew Stokes oversaw training for the event and, speaking in the lead up to today's ceremony, said: "The Army teaches individuals many skills, but one of the greatest is teamwork, and this parade is a marvellous display of that: a collaboration of ideas and new thinking to celebrate the leadership of the Sovereign on her official birthday."

Twenty-nine-year-old Lance Corporal Chusa Siwale, from Zambia, fulfilled the role of Lone Drummer for the ceremony.

The soldier is part of the Welsh Guards’ assault pioneer platoon and deployed to Afghanistan in 2018 as a Force Protection Commander, where the Commanding Officer awarded him the Exemplary Leadership Award.

He also finished as the top student on his recent Class 1 Drummers course.

Personnel took to the quadrangle at Windsor Castle to mark the Queen's official birthday (Picture: PA).

"It is a huge privilege for me to be undertaking this key role in the parade at what is a very difficult time for the UK," he said, in the build up to the event.

"Only four weeks ago I was involved with testing key workers for COVID-19 as part of the Welsh Guards’ contribution to the battle against the virus; now I am on parade performing in front of Her Majesty.

"This is a very proud day for me."

Lance Corporal Stephen Shepherd, saxophonist from the Band of the Welsh Guards, said, before today's ceremony: "It is a real honour to be involved with the birthday tribute to Her Majesty The Queen; to be able to perform for both Her and the general public in such a difficult period is a real pleasure."

Soldiers were chosen due to the fact they are living nearby, on duty at the castle or based at nearby barracks, to limit travel, the Army said.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Household Division personnel have guarded Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and the Tower of London, as well as forming a COVID Support Force.

Cover image: MOD.