Meghan Markle appeared alongside husband Prince Harry on Saturday at the 2019 Trooping the Colour ceremony in London, making her first public appearance since the couple introduced the world to baby Archie last month.
The annual ceremony marks the Queen’s official birthday, and includes 1,400 soldiers on parade, 200 horses and 400 musicians in what’s described as “a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare.”
The Duchess of Sussex has been on maternity leave since Archie’s arrival on May 6, and her appearance at the Trooping the Colour ceremony was reportedly top secret until Saturday morning. A source close to the Duchess tells the magazine “she was determined” to be at the event in order to pay her respects to the Queen, who celebrated her actual birthday on April 21.
Markle’s appearance at the event, however, doesn’t mean she’s ready to end her maternity leave and resume her royal duties.
“The Duchess is still on maternity leave and will not be returning to full time work until the fall,” the source said. “It was important to her to be at Trooping today out of respect to the Queen. She’s mirroring what the Duchess of Cambridge did on her maternity leave. You’ll probably see her at a few engagements but she won’t be back to work properly until later in the year.”
The couple’s 1-month-old son, reports VF, was left under the care of “a newly appointed nanny who has been hired in recent weeks.”
The royals made their way to the ceremony in lavish horse-drawn carriages, with the Queen arriving solo in her carriage (Prince Philip, who will turn 98 on Monday, has officially retired from official public duties).
As always, one of the highlights of the ceremony was the RAF flypast, in which the famed Red Arrows and other aircraft zoom above Buckingham Palace as the royal family watches from the balcony.
With the Queen joined on the balcony by the rest of the royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were accompanied by their three children: Prince George, 5; Princess Charlotte, 4; and 1-year-old Prince Louis, making his balcony debut.
Check out more photos and video from this year’s Trooping the Colour ceremony via social media: