Trooping the Colour, also known as Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Parade was held this past Saturday, 15 June. Her birthday is actually on April 21 but the celebrations are numerous and culminates with the “official” Birthday Parade. She turned 87 years old this year and seems to be going strong. Tickets for the Parade are given out by lottery which I wrote about a few months ago (click here). Although I did receive lottery tickets for the Colonel’s review practice ceremony the week prior, John was able to get tickets for the Official Birthday Parade. Tickets cost £30 each.
The sheer number of Soldiers and horses was impressive. The parade included 19 officers, 626 soldiers, 225 musicians, 23 mounted officers, 219 mounted soldiers and 245 gorgeous horses.
Despite my allergies going crazy from the pollen and other unidentified particles flying through the air (London seems to be at the height of allergy season right now), I was thrilled to witness a British tradition that’s been going on since the reign of King Charles II (1660 -1685). In 1748, it was agreed the parade would be used to mark the official birthday of the Sovereign and it became an annual event as of 1760 during the reign of George III. I enjoyed seeing the grandeur, the band (so fabulous!), the Soldiers, horses and, of course, seeing the Queen.
Colour (yes, I’m spelling it the British way) refers to the regimental flags of the British Infantry. Since the times of Kings of Babylon, the flags have been used as a rallying point for Soldiers. The Colour being trooped was the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and, since the Queen was present, it was Queen’s Colour on parade. Hope I got that right!
The Queen has attended the parade and taken “the salute” since her accession to the throne ~ 61 years! Until 1986, she rode a horse to take the salute but since then, she’s taken the salute from the dais. Unfortunately, our seats didn’t provide a view of the dais.
Other Royal Family members participate in the ceremony as well. If you squint, as I did at the ceremony, you can see Kate (Duchess of Cambridge), Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall) and Prince Harry in the open-carriage. My understanding is this was Kate’s last public event until she gives birth.
Not a great photo but those mounted officers with the Blue sash(which signifies they are in the Order of the Garter) are as follows: On the far is Anne, The Princess Royal and a Colonel in the Blues and Royals. In the middle is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Colonel Irish Guards. On the right is Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Colonel Welsh Guards. They followed directly behind the Queen’s carriage.
The Old Admiralty Building with the Bunker Seats and “hanging out the windows” seemed to provide great views.
The horses are beautiful and so well behaved. It’s obvious they are a bit spunky since they looked so pleased when they were finally able to do the “quick time” meaning then got to canter rather then walk pass the Queen.
The band sounded fantastic~ both those on foot and mounted. Have to say, I still don’t know how they play while riding horse back. Just riding a horse takes all my concentration!
There were hats and horses everywhere. I find it difficult to distinguish the different uniforms but I do know the blue plume on the hat means Irish Guards and the red plume means Coldstream Guards.
We didn’t have a good view of the Queen but David Cameron (Prime Minister) and other international dignitaries were close by.
Wasn’t quite sure what the pointing of the sword meant since it was being pointed directly at David Cameron but John explained it’s like a turn signal. Ah, that explains it…
At the end of the ceremony, we couldn’t resist snapping a photo with a foot guard. My favorite quote of the day was Logan stating “They really are the Red Coats”