When Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 92nd birthday recently, Meghan Markle, the new addition to the royal family was not the only relaxation of longstanding royal traditions. Twenty-two-year-old Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall was one of the 1,000 soldiers who marched in the widely watched traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony at Buckingham Palace. In a first, Charan became the first turban-clad sikh soldier to be seen participating in the ceremony which was attended by the Queen and the members of the royal family.
The Punjab-born lad, who moved to the UK as a kid, joined the British Army in January 2016. A member of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, Charan’s turban featured the ceremonial cap star to match the bearskin hats of his fellow guardsmen, says the Hindustan Times. Speaking to the reporters at the ceremony, he said,
I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history. I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds will be encouraged to join the army.
He further added, "I’m quite proud and I know that a lot of other people are proud of me as well. It is a good feeling. For myself, being the first turban-wearing Sikh to Trooping the Colour and to be part of the escort, it is a really high honour for myself, and hopefully for everyone else as well."
A part of the Coldstream Guards, the colour parade marks the Queen's official birthday says the BBC. The ceremony, which is deeply rooted in the history of the UK, is believed to have been first performed during the reign of King Charles II.