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Prince Philip resumes royal duties as queen marks official birthday

By Anna Tomforde –

LONDON — Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II Saturday marked her official birthday with the traditional Trooping the Colour parade in London, accompanied by Prince Philip for the first time since the diamond jubilee celebrations two weeks ago.

The queen, 86, in a pale yellow coat and hat, watched the march-past of the Coldstream Guards, the oldest guards regiment in the British army, on Horse Guards Parade.

Starting Monday, the parade ground will be turned into Olympic venue, and covered in tons of sand for the Beach Volleyball competition.

The queen and Prince Philip, who turned 91 last Sunday, were joined by younger members of the royal family, including Prince William, his wife Kate, and Prince Harry for the pageant.

While William, his father Prince Charles and Princess Anne — who are all honorary colonels of guard regiments — followed the queen’s carriage on horseback, Kate, Prince Harry and Camilla, wife of Prince Charles, travelled behind in a carriage.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was hospitalized with a bladder infection during the four-day diamond jubilee celebrations two weeks ago. He resumed his official duties Saturday.

The queen’s real birthday is on April 21, but the June date is traditionally chosen for the parade in the hope of better weather. During her 60-year-reign, she has missed the ritual only once — when it was cancelled due a general strike in 1955.

In her traditional birthday honors, the queen knighted Hollywood star and Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh, and awarded medals to “Titanic” actress Kate Winslet and Gary Barlow, the singer with the group Take That who organized the jubilee concert for the queen.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hailed the “special history of friendship” with Britain in a message to the queen, Buckingham Palace said.

“The United States has long viewed the Queen and her service to her nation with the deepest respect . . . her tireless dedication is a beacon of hope to peoples and countries around the world.”

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