Kate takes salute at Beating Retreat army showcase

The Duchess of Cambridge has taken the salute for the first time at Beating Retreat, a celebratory event showcasing the British Army.

More than 750 soldiers wearing ceremonial uniforms stepped out for the display of military music, horsemanship, precision drill, fireworks and pageantry.

About 7,500 bystanders cheered as the duchess arrived and took her seat at Horse Guards Parade on Thursday evening.

Beating Retreat ceremony
Beating Retreat ceremony

Wearing a cream collared jacket, with her hair in a slick chignon, Kate smiled and spoke with soldiers who welcomed her to the event.

It paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of D-Day by including a composition taken from The Longest Day, a 1962 film depicting the Normandy landings on June 6 1944.

Kate was the only member of the royal family to attend the event, with the Duke of Cambridge marking the anniversary at an event in Staffordshire earlier on Thursday.

Beating Retreat ceremony
Beating Retreat ceremony

The hour-long programme featured traditional military anthems, telling the history of regiments in the British Army.

As well as bands from the Household Division, this year the military spectacular featured The Band, Pipe and Drums of the Royal Guard of Oman.

Dame Kelly Holmes, Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, took the salute at the event’s first night on Wednesday.

Beating Retreat is performed in front of St James’s Park across two evenings every year in the week preceding Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s official birthday parade.