King’s Trooping Birthday on Horseback
Trooping the Colour is a military parade that has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign for more than 260 years. It is held annually on the second Saturday of June and is the most spectacular and majestic display of pageantry in the UK. This year, after the cancellation of the 2020 parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event marked Queen Elizabeth II’s official 95th birthday and the first Trooping the Colour parade attended by the senior members of the royal family since the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The Parade’s History
The Trooping the Colour procession began during the reign of King George II in 1748. The parade originally had an essential military function, as it was used to ensure that soldiers could recognise their own regiment’s colours during battle. The custom of not granting soldiers the absolute right to bear “standards” or military flags led to regimental colours being paraded in front of soldiers, so they could recognise them from afar.
The Spectacle’s Significance
Today, the Trooping the Colour parade is a grand social event that attracts royal admirers and tourists from all over the world. Its main purpose remains honouring the monarch, whose birthday is celebrated on a Saturday in June. The day is marked by large public celebrations, including a military parade by fully-dressed soldiers on horseback in ceremonial regalia and the iconic balcony appearance by the royal family.
Getting Ready for Trooping the Colour
The Triumphant Entry
The Sovereign’s procession is the first spectacle in the trooping ceremony. The monarch is escorted through Horse Guards Parade in a carriage drawn by four white horses. The carriage will take them to the gilded throne waiting for them at the opposite end of the field. The St Edward’s Crown is strategically placed, and beneath it rests on a table.
The Trooping Begins
At precisely 11 am, the Queen takes her official place in the presiding council to begin the passage of the troops. The royal procession is performed to a background score, with Prince Charles, in Full Dress uniform and mounted in front of the procession, leading them forward.
The Royal Family Takes the Balcony
After the parade, the royal family appears in front of their adoring public on the Buckingham Palace balcony. The King and Queen wave to the cheering audience as they inspect the mass procession. The balcony is deliberately reserved for the royal family and dignitaries.
The Birthday Cake
After the balcony, the Queen returns to the Palace, where she is presented with her official birthday cake. This is traditionally made, ensuring that the bright red velvet colour is just so. It is also widely enjoyed across the kingdom.
The Last Word
Trooping the Colour is a spectacular display of tradition, ceremony, and pride. It unites citizens, from streets to towns to cities throughout the UK, to honour their king. From the Sovereign’s grand entrance to the Buckingham Palace balcony appearance, the parade commemorates a long-standing tradition that continues to unite Britons of all ages in a vast, emotional undertaking.
What is the Trooping the Colour Parade?
Trooping the Colour is an event that celebrates the official birthday of the British monarch. It is a military parade that features regiments on horseback and marching bands. The parade ends with the royal family appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace before watching thousands of uniformed soldiers march through the streets of London.
When is Trooping the Colour Held?
The event is held annually on the second Saturday of June.
What is the Aim of Trooping the Colour?
The primary objective of Trooping the Colour is to celebrate the monarch’s official birthday and demonstrate British military excellence. The parade has been a British tradition since 1748, and its significance and importance have grown over the years.
Who can attend Trooping the Colour?
The Trooping the Colour is a public event, and people can attend by purchasing a grandstand or seated ticket. However, space is limited, and tickets are often sold out months in advance.
Are Trooping the Colour Parades Cancelled?
The Trooping the Colour parade has only been cancelled a few times in history, such as during severe national emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.