Queen Elizabeth’s openly gay royal footman will accompany her on all formal occasions.
Ollie Roberts, 21, made his first public appearance as the Queen’s Footman on Saturday. His debut occurred during the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London. Trooping the Colour is a yearly event that appears as part of celebrations honoring the Queen’s official birthday.
Today The Queen and other members of The Royal Family attended The Queen’s birthday parade on Horse Guards Parade – Trooping the Colour. This year, the 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards were being "Trooped" and it was first time The Duke of York rode for the first time in his role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – on a horse from the Royal Mews called Elizabeth. HRH rode alongside the other Royal Colonels, after taking over as Colonel from his father, The Duke of Edinburgh, in December 2017. The other Royal Colonels are The Princess Royal (riding as Colonel of the Blues and Royals), The Prince of Wales (riding as Colonel of the Welsh Guards) and The Duke of Cambridge (riding as Colonel of the Irish Guards). #Troopingthecolour ? PA
The occasion marked the first time the openly gay former servicemen had joined the sovereign since being selected for the role. Roberts, who is a former member of the Royal Airforce, will live on the grounds of Buckingham Palace. He will travel with the Queen to official functions and when she visits her other homes, such as Windsor Castle and Sandringham House. From now on, Roberts will have a full schedule; the Queen’s Footman is also obligated to ride with the Queen in all carriages.
The selection of an openly gay man for a highly visible position in royal service has been embraced by many. The action is part of a pledge by the Queen to combat anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Last month in Windsor, several high-profile members of the LGBTQ community attended the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Besides, the younger generation of the Royal Family, including Princes William and Harry, have proved to be allies for equality and LGBTQ rights. Their passion for fighting for LGBTQ people likely originated with their mother, Princess Diana, who supported the LGBTQ community.
Many of the official royal events happen during summer so you will see Roberts riding with the Queen to many functions. In just over a week, Roberts will accompany the Queen to the Royal Ascot.
Watch the full Trooping of the Colour ceremony below!