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Trooping the Colour: why royal children including Prince George and Princess Charlotte love it

The annual event at Buckingham Palace marks the Queen's official birthday in June

by Ainhoa Barcelona

Trooping the Colour has been a highlight in the royal calendar for decades, when members of the public and the royal family come together to celebrate the Queen's official birthday in June. But the military parade, complete with a colourful carriage procession and an RAF flypast, is as much a celebration for the 91-year-old monarch – who has attended every year of her reign bar one – as it is for the youngest members of her family.

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Excitement always reaches fever pitch when the tiny Princes and Princesses make an appearance at the event, whether it's riding in one of the golden carriages, or standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. At just 13 months old, Princess Charlotte made her debut last year. The little girl, who is the Queen's youngest great-grandchild, was the picture of cuteness in a pink frock. She was carried by her doting mum Kate and judging by the expression on her face, Charlotte seemed just as fascinated by the flypast as the rest of her family.

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Princess Charlotte made her debut last year

Her big brother Prince George, three, looked absolutely enthralled by the colourful plumes of smoke and thousands of well-wishers who had gathered along the Mall, as the national anthem played in the background. The little boy was so intrigued he leant to peer over the balcony, but dad Prince William acted fast and gently pulled him back. George could be forgiven for getting overcited, as Kate later explained: "I've honestly never seen him so excited. His face lit up."

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Prince Harry made an appearance in June 1988

George attended his first ever Trooping the Colour in 2015, when he watched the magnificent parade from a window of Buckingham Palace. The cheeky youngster, who was held by his nanny Maria Borrallo, laughed and stuck his tongue out excitedly as he looked at the crowds. The scene was reminiscent of when a young Prince Harry made a balcony appearance in June 1988, and was also pictured sticking his tongue out.

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James, Viscount Severn took part in the parade for the first time last year

Trooping the Colour is also an exciting time for older royal children, who get up close and personal to the action. Lady Louise, 13, and James, Viscount Severn, nine – Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex's children – are now old enough to take part in the parade. Last year, they rode in a carriage with their parents and looked to be having a great time as they took in the crowds and waved to well-wishers.