More than 1,000 British soldiers marched Saturday in a spectacular ceremony in London to mark Queen Elizabeth ll’s official birthday, but one stood out.
Sikh soldier Charanpreet Singh Lall became the first from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards to sport a turban instead of the traditional tall bearskin hat in Trooping the Colour, an impressive military display of pomp and pageantry that dates back nearly 270 years.
Lall told Britain’s Press Association that he’s honored to be taking part in Trooping the Colour for the first time.
“I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history,” Lall told the news agency.
“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.”
Lall, 22, from Leicester, England, joined the British army in 2016. Originally from India, he moved to the UK with his family as a child.
A defense press officer said he believes the first to wear a turban was in 2012. “It would not be a vast number between 2012 and 2018,” the spokesman said.
“What I can tell you is that he is the first Coldstream Guardsman to wear a turban during the Queen’s birthday parade,” he said.
Lall’s achievement was feted on Twitter, which lit up with comments.
“So proud of Charanpreet Singh Lall to be the first Sikh to wear a turban at # TroopingTheColor what an honour, ” Ameet Jogia tweeted.
“I think that this is wonderful,” Red T Raccoon said.
“Kudos to #CharanpreetSinghLall for holding on to his identity and representing the #Sikh community,” Yasmin wrote.
Lall told the Press Association that his family was “really, really proud” of him.
“My mum was crying on the day I passed out (after he completed training) so I wonder what is going to happen to her when she sees me in this,” he told the news agency.
CNN’s Lauren Kent contributed to this report.