Troops parade in London for queen's birthday

British soldiers ride their horses as they escort Queen Elizabeth II in a horse drawn carriage as she returns to Buckingham Palace, during the Trooping The Colour parade, in central London, June 14, 2014.

LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of British soldiers in tall bearskin hats and ceremonial dress marched Saturday in central London for the "Trooping the Color" parade, an annual display of pomp and pageantry that marks the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.

The queen, who wore a pastel blue outfit, rode in a vintage horse-drawn carriage with her husband Prince Philip, starting from Buckingham Palace. She then inspected more than 1,000 soldiers at Horse Guards Parade.

"Trooping the Color" originated from traditional preparations for battle, when flags were carried or "trooped" down the ranks for soldiers to see.

The queen turned 88 on April 21, her actual birth date, which is usually celebrated in private. The monarch traditionally marks her birthday publicly in June.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth IIsurrounded by members of her family, stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the Royal Air Force fly past, during the Trooping The Colour parade, in central London, June 14, 2014.AP Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis

Britain's Queen Elizabeth IIsurrounded by members of her family, stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the Royal Air Force fly past, during the Trooping The Colour parade, in central London, June 14, 2014.

Other senior royals also turned out for the ceremony: Prince William and his father, Prince Charles, rode on horseback. The Duchess of Cambridge, William's wife Kate, rode in a carriage with Charles' wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, but left her baby boy George at home.

A huge crowd later gathered at Buckingham Palace, where the royal family appeared together on the balcony to watch a ceremonial Royal Air Force fly-past.