Queen's birthday marked with smaller ceremony due to coronavirus pandemic

Queen Elizabeth's birthday is being marked Saturday with a smaller ceremony than usual, as the annual Trooping the Colour parade is cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Smaller number than usual of soldiers and musicians pay tribute at Windsor Castle

The Queen, 94, attends a ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle on Saturday. (Toby Melville/WPA pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth viewed a socially distanced military ceremony at Windsor Castle to mark her official birthday on Saturday, after the coronavirus pandemic forced cancellation of the usual large parade of soldiers through central London.

It was the Queen's first official public appearance since the country went into lockdown in late March.

The 94-year-old Queen watched a series of drills by the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in the castle's quadrangle, instead of the Trooping the Colour event that traditionally marks the occasion.

The Queen, who has been living with her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip at the castle west of London, has issued a number of rallying messages to the nation in the past three months, including televised addresses that have been a rarity during her 68-year reign.

But she had not been seen in public until Saturday, when dressed in a jade coat and wearing a diamond Welsh Guards brooch, she observed soldiers adhering to the two-metre social distancing rule, and listened to music performed by a Band of the Household Division.

Guardsmen keep social distance as they stand in formation for a ceremony to mark the Queen's official birthday at Windsor Castle. (Toby Melville/WPA pool/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Buckingham Palace released a new photograph of the royal couple to celebrate Philip's birthday. The gun salutes in London that normally celebrate that occasion were also cancelled.

The Queen's actual birthday is April 21, but her birthday is officially marked in June.