The Prince of Wales reviewed his troops on horseback on Saturday as at least three soldiers collapsed in sweltering London temperatures.
Thousands of people gathered at Trooping the Guards at St James’s Park to witness the Colonel in review ahead of Trooping the Color during Trooping the Color during the King’s Birthday next week.
The ceremony involved hundreds of horses and soldiers performing complex battlefield maneuvers, accompanied by military music.
But with temperatures hitting 28C, the heat of the roast was too much for some, and the prince later tweeted his thanks to those who took part.
At least three soldiers fainted and were carried off on stretchers, while two others were helped off the parade ground.
A member of the Tobe Mass Band fell to the ground and stood up again, and the audience burst into applause.
He appeared to attempt to continue playing his instrument but was quickly escorted away by paramedics.
William acknowledged the “difficult conditions” in a tweet, which he signed himself with his initials.
He wrote: “Thank you so much to every single soldier (sic) who participated in Colonel’s review this morning in the heat. Difficult conditions but you all did a great job. Thank you. W.
James Calford, 18, from Cardiff, the youngest soldier in the Welsh Guards, described the parade as “like standing in a sauna with a 200kg dumbbell in his left hand”.
He said the ceremony was “much harder than it looks on TV”.
“Once you’re wearing a tunic and a bearskin and carrying a rifle in the heat, it’s very uncomfortable.”
The Colonel’s Review is the final assessment of the Home Office ahead of the parade of troops for the King during Trooping the Color on 17 June to mark the official birthday of the Sovereign.
William rode over his troops for the first time as Colonel of the Welsh Guards, wearing a bearskin cap and red uniform.
His horse, Darby, a gift from the RCMP to the late Queen, led William’s grandmother’s funeral procession last year.
This year, it’s the turn of the Welsh Guards – the King’s former division – to join their banner.
Charles served as Colonel of the Welsh Guards for 48 years before handing over the post to William in 2022.
Preparations for the ceremony began even before the king’s coronation, with all seven regiments of the Household Cavalry Division taking part, including five regiments of infantry – Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Irish The Regiment of the Men and the Welsh – and two regiments of cavalry – the Regiment of the Household Cavalry and the King’s Royal Horse Artillery.
The Home Division mass band performed new music, including work by Major Lauren Petriz-Watts, who will become the first female composer to perform her music at the Sovereign’s Birthday Parade.
Freddie Hopkisson, 23, second lieutenant in the Welsh Guards, said of the June 17 event: “This is going to be a huge parade. It’s an honor and we all feel it.
“To be in this pivotal role at such a young age, with color and all that it stands for, is definitely the pinnacle of my life.”
Thousands of spectators are expected to line up at shopping centers to watch the king’s birthday parade.
Trooping the Color’s origins date back to the Middle Ages, when each lord or baron flew their banner, a color, so that their followers could spot them in battle.
For more than 260 years, this annual event has marked the official birthday of the British monarch.