Sikh Soldier Becomes First to Wear Turban at Parade Marking Queen’s Birthday in Britain

Coldstream Guards' Charanpreet Singh Lall's turban featured the ceremonial capstar to match the bearskin hats of his fellow soldiers.


In a first for the over 250-year-old traditional event, a turban-wearing Sikh British soldier became part of the widely watched Trooping the Colour ceremony, which was held to mark the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on June 9. Trooping the Colour, a ceremony that came from traditional preparations for the battle, has marked the birthday of the sovereign for more than 250 years. It is staged every June by London’s Horse Guards Parade.

Punjab-born Charanpreet Singh Lall of Coldstream Guards was among more than 1,000 soldiers who were part of the ceremony attended by the Queen and other members of royal family —  the newly -married Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Charles, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The turban of Lall, 22, featured the ceremonial capstar to match the bearskin hats of his fellow soldiers.

Leicester-based Lall, who became the first turban-wearing guardsman at the event, said that he hopes that viewers of the ceremony will “look at it as a new change in history,” the Hindustan Times reported.

“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 told the Press Association.

Lall, who joined the British Army in January 2016, moved to the United Kingdom when he was a toddler.

“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 Troop the Colour and to be part of the escort, it is a really high honor for myself, and hopefully for everyone else as well,” he was quoted as saying.

“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 added.

Meanwhile, many “extraordinary” professionals from the Indian diaspora in the United Kingdom were named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2018, that was released on June 8. The list honors achievements of a “wide range of extraordinary people” across the country, the official statement said. The list is published twice a year — the New Year and on the date of the queen’s official birthday.

Among those honored this year were Gargi Patel, an officer in the department of Immigration Enforcement at the Home Office in London, and Essex-based henna artist Pavandeep Ahluwalia. Jaswinder Singh Bamrah was chosen for services to mental health, diversity and the National Health Service, while Manoj Kumar Badale, the chair of the British Asian Trust, was named for services to the economy and charity. Also on the list were Pargan Singh Cheema, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, for services to business, community cohesion and charity; and Cambridgeshire-based Alpana Sengupta Taylor, who was named for an Order of British Empire (OBE) for contribution to South Asian dance.

Other individuals named for the OBE are Dhruv Patel, Kumar Raval, Amandeep Singh Madra, Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, Jagdev Singh Virdee, Hasmukhlal Vadilal Shah and Ruxmani Thakorbhai Patel for work in inter-faith relations; Ashok Roy, for services to people with learning disabilities, and Amarjit Kaur Samra, for services to defense medical research.

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