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Sikh soldier becomes first to wear turban for trooping the colour

Courtesy : The Guardian 

Jun 10 2018

A Coldstream Guards soldier has become the first person to wear a turban during the trooping the colour ceremony.

More than 1,000 soldiers took part in the ceremony to mark the Queen’s official birthday on Saturday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined other senior royals including the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the event.

It was the first time Meghan Markle had attended the ceremony following her marriage to Prince Harry three weeks ago.

The newlyweds also appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the first time on Saturday.

A former head of the armed forces was thrown off his horse after the ceremony. Field Marshal Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank was receiving medical attention following the incident, the Ministry of Defence said.

The 79-year-old could be seen lying on the ground and surrounded by police officers after the fall, which took place near the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. 

Guthrie, a former SAS commander, was head of the British Army until 1997 and then chief of defence staff until 2001. 

Meanwhile, a 51-year-old woman was arrested for a public order offence after an item was thrown towards a procession at the event, Scotland Yard said. The woman is in custody at a central London police station.

Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall, 22, a Sikh from Leicester, said he hoped his participation in the event would encourage those from different religions and backgrounds to join the army.

The event was Lall’s first trooping the colour. He told the Press Association: “I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history. 

“I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, will be encouraged to join the army.” 

Lall was born in Punjab, India, and moved to the UK as a baby. He joined the army in January 2016.

A member of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, Lall’s turban features the ceremonial cap star to match the bearskin hats of his fellow guardsmen. 

“I’m quite proud and I know that a lot of other people are proud of me as well,” he said before the event. “It is a good feeling … there’s going to be a lot of eyes and I am going to have an influence on other people.”

Trooping the colour, which is staged every June in London’s Horse Guards Parade, originated from traditional preparations for battle. Colours, or flags, were carried, or “trooped”, down the ranks so the soldiers could see and recognise them. 

In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to troop the colours, and in 1748 it was announced the parade would also mark the monarch’s official birthday. 

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