A Sikh Coldstream Guards soldier who will be the first to wear a turban during the Trooping the Colour parade said he hoped it will be seen as “a new change in history”.
More than 1,000 soldiers will take part in the ceremony which marks the Queen’s official birthday.
It will be the first time Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall has taken part in the ceremony and he will be the first in his regiment to do so while wearing a turban.
“I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history,” said 22-year-old from Leicester.
“I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, that they will be encouraged to join the Army.”
Gdsm Lall, who joined the British Army in January 2016, was born in Punjab, India, before moving to the UK as a baby.
“I’m quite proud and I know that a lot of other people are proud of me as well,” he said. “It is a good feeling… there’s going to be a lot of eyes and I am going to have an influence on other people.”
Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle.
Colours, or flags, were carried, or ‘trooped’, down the ranks so they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.
In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to “troop the colours”, and in 1748 it was announced the parade would also mark the Sovereign’s official birthday.
This year the ceremony, which is staged every June in London’s historic Horse Guards Parade, will see the Colour of the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards being trooped.
With weeks of rigorous training under his belt, Gdsm Lall will join many other soldiers in wearing immaculate uniforms and marching with precision up to the Mall and onto parade.
“Being the first turban-wearing Sikh to troop the colour and to be part of the escort is a really high honour for myself, and hopefully for everyone else as well,” he said.
The guardsman said his family, including his mother, father and sister, who are “really, really proud” of him, will be there to watch him take part.”My mum was crying on the day I passed out so I wonder what is going to happen to her when she sees me in this,” he said.