Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday which is a nationwide celebration in normal times, will be marked with a mini version of Trooping the Colour on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic. The military celebration by Welsh Guards and musical display by Massed Band of the Household Division will take place inside Windsor Castle, keeping in mind norms of social distancing. The 94-year-old British monarch will watch the parade from the window of the castle.

The ceremony will be broadcast by BBC One. The Welsh Guards will take part in a display in Windsor Castle's quadrangle. Queen Elizabeth II will receive a royal salute followed by military drills. The Welsh Guards will form up in carefully socially-distanced ranks, 2.2 metres apart, BBC reports.

"But more spacing between individuals means that there is also no room for errors and so the soldier has to really concentrate on their own personal drill, reaction to orders, dressing and social distancing," said Garrison Sgt Maj Warrant Officer Class 1 Andrew Stokes, who created the display.

Maj Gen Christopher Ghika, commander of the Household Division, said the circumstances surrounding the decision to host the tribute in Windsor were "clouded in tragedy". "The effects of Covid-19 have been devastating in terms of loss of life and the threatening of livelihoods of so many across the country. People have had to endure separation from loved ones, great uncertainty and the suspension of so much of what is special about our national life," he added.

"The Welsh Guards and many of those on parade have recently been deployed within the United Kingdom as part of the nation's response to the virus and so the context of the ceremony is particularly poignant," Gen Ghika said.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Guards, along with the rest of the Household Division, are among the soldiers helping with the coronavirus response at test centres.

This is the second time in the British monarch's 68-year reign that the annual Trooping the Colour in London has been cancelled. The last time her birthday was cancelled was after three years of her coronation due to a nationwide rail strike, in 1955. The event is watched by thousands of people and senior members of the British royal family, who make an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the flypast.

The queen celebrated her real birthday on April 21. But, her official birthday is celebrated on the second Saturday of June every year. Currently the queen and Prince Philip who celebrated turning 99 on Wednesday are isolating at Windsor Castle. A new picture was released by the palace to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's birthday.

Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
2 June 1953: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave to the crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace after her coronation at Westminster Abbey AFP

The scaled back military celebration will be broadcast at 10:15 BST on BBC One.