Changing the Guard usually takes place in the morning but there was a royal version of it on the balcony of Buckingham Palace this Saturday afternoon. Prince George and Princess Charlotte made their second appearance there for the Queen's Official Birthday celebrations and, without really knowing, took on a new role in their royal career. For their great grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, is retiring in a few weeks' time and this could be the final time he makes an appearance at this event. Prince Philip seemed full of pride and joy as he watched the next generation enjoying a spectacle he has been part of for over six decades. Today, the royal guard began to change.
George and Charlotte weren't the only great grandchildren standing alongside the Queen and Prince Philip. Savannah and Isla Phillips, daughters of the royal couple's eldest grandchild Peter Phillips, were also there. It was their first appearance on the balcony. Charlotte made her debut last year while George has been waving at the crowds for three years in a row now.
Admittedly, the waving was somewhat limited this year. George, in cream and burgundy, seemed completely underwhelmed by the experience, marching straight into a favourite spot and putting his chin in his hands.
Charlotte, however, was much more into the whole flypast idea. But then it's only turn two for her. The fourth in line to the throne waved excitedly at the planes before hopping down to chat with big brother, George.
Prize for most enthusiastic great grandchild went to Savannah Phillips who, at six, was all ready for a touch of plane spotting on a summer's Saturday afternoon. You give this girl a plane, she'll find it in her book and point it out to cousin William quicker than you can say Trooping 2017.
Prince Philip watched it all rather proudly. The happy great grandpapa clearly loved every moment of this special appearance, helping to move a box along with balcony for George to stand on and smiling constantly at the four of his five great grandchildren by his side.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who was 96 last week, announced his retirement last month and will complete his public engagements in August. He did say he may well attend public events as and when so this may not be the final time we see Philip at Trooping the Colour. But much has already changed. For the first time, the Duke of Edinburgh didn't attend in full uniform and this time next year, his appearance will be a surprise rather than something we take for granted. Unlike George and Charlotte who we now expect to see every year. Time moves on. The royal guard is changing.
Photo credit: BBC still