Thousands of people in London gathered to see the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony on Saturday (June 9) to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday. While most were excited about seeing the newlyweds Duke and Duchess of Sussex making their debut as a couple during the pageantry, it was another unusual event that made international headlines. For the first time ever, a Sikh Coldstream Guards soldier took part in the parade wearing a turban instead of a bearskin hat, traditionally worn by the troops.
Charanpreet Singh Lall, a 22-year-old man from Leicester was proud to make history and hoped he is not the last one to do so. “I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history,” he told Associated Press. “I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, that they will be encouraged to join the Army,” the report added.
Born in Punjab, Lall’s family moved to the United Kingdom when he was just a baby and joined the British army in January 2016. His black turban featured a ceremonial cap star to match the bearskin hats worn by the other soldiers.
Photos of the young Guardsman went viral on social media, with many expressing their joy and feeling proud by this historic moment when a Sikh man was allowed to wear his religious headgear.
— Punjabi Wolves (@PunjabiWolvesSG) June 9, 2018
— Jinu (@jinujay) June 10, 2018
Excellent! Another example why this is a great nation that values diversity. Well done #CharanPreet #Singh who has true Preet (love) for Guruji’s gift #Sikh #Turban #Dastar & to be part of great team guarding our Head of State & Commonwealth HM The Queen
— Charan Sekhon (@ckssekhon) June 9, 2018
Proud moment for #Sikhs today to see Trooping the Colour & British Sikh @ColdstreamGds Charanpreet Singh Lall, 22yr old march in HM The Queen’s birthday parade.
Proud of his identity & #inspiring future generations! #ArmySikh @SikhsAtWar #QBP2018 pic.twitter.com/KZcCZ1iWDm
— Parvesh Sahib Singh (@p_sahibsingh) June 9, 2018
Historic progress in the UK as turbaned Sikh marches in Queen’s birthday parade. Proud moment for Sikhs around the world and further evidence that our articles of faith are not a hindrance to military service. #LetSikhsServe #DiversityandInclusion https://t.co/G6NbNZmoy7
— Amandeep S. Sidhu (@amansidhu_dc) June 9, 2018
Very proud moment for Indian Sikhs and Punjabis worldwide to see first British Sikh .@ColdstreamGds Charanpreet Singh Lall march with turban in HM The Queen’s birthday parade. #QBP2018 #TroopingtheColour #SDGs pic.twitter.com/i6jrv1ZqI2
— Parthiban Shanmugam (@hollywoodcurry) June 10, 2018
Well done to Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall for becoming the first to take part in the Trooping of the Guard while wearing a turban. pic.twitter.com/BMup21aCzX
— Sahira khan (@KhanSahira) June 10, 2018
— Kulveer (@KulveerRanger) June 9, 2018
Trooping the Colour is a ceremony deeply rooted in the history of the United Kingdom and has been celebrated to commemorate the birthday of the sovereign – a tradition that dates back to more than 250 years. It originated from traditional preparations for battle when flags, also known as colours, were “trooped” so that soldiers in the ranks would be able to 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 Sovereign’s official birthday.
While Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne made their way into the parade on horseback, Prince Harry made a short trip from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade in a horse-drawn carriage.