Queen Elizabeth will have her cousin, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, accompany her as her "plus one" in this year's scaled-down Trooping the Colour ceremony following the death of Prince Philip.
According to Daily Mail, the 85-year-old working royal, who is currently the 39th in the line of succession, will step into the role so that Queen Elizabeth will not have to be alone at the ceremonies. It's not the first time Edward has kept Her Majesty company for her official birthday celebration as he was also her plus one when Philip had been recovering from surgery in 2013.
The upcoming Trooping the Colour ceremony, to be held on June 12, will be a personal engagement, as opposed to the usual pomp and grandeur, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Last year, Buckingham Palace had to prepare a scaled-down event as well with only the queen as the audience of the parade of her troops at the Windsor Castle quadrangle.
This time, however, some members of the royal family will be watching the ceremonies from the podium with the Duke of Kent by the queen's side. According to Daily Express, the Trooping the Colour ceremony will still take place at Windsor and will not move to Buckingham Palace.
Edward is the son of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, who is Prince Philip's cousin, and Prince George, the brother of Queen Elizabeth's father, King George VI. He is also related to the royals of Russia because his maternal grandmother is the Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.
He became the Duke of Kent at the age of seven, inheriting the title from his father, who died in an aircraft accident during the war. Edward has two other younger siblings, Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy. Incidentally, Michael recently made headlines for allegedly using his royal status to sell access to President Vladimir Putin.
As a young man, the Duke of Kent served the Royal Armed Forces for 21 years before he became a working royal to serve Her Majesty and the Crown. Like Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Kent continues to work and holds various appointments and royal patronages today.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth is expected to increase her in-person engagements following the Trooping the Colour ceremony. The most recent face-to-face event Her Majesty went to was aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth last May 21 to send off the military vessels for its mission in the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.