The Trooping the Colour Celebrates the Official Birthday of the Queen:
When it comes to pomp and pageantry, the Trooping the Colour is the most elaborate of London’s royal ceremonies. The Trooping the Colour ceremony is held to celebrate the official birthday of the British Sovereign. So, although Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21st, her birthday is officially celebrated in Britain in June each year, usually around the second Saturday. The annual Trooping the Colour combines pageantry, colour and music and is the high point of London’s ceremonial year.
**Trooping the Colour 2012 takes place on June 16th and this year, being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, visitors can expect to see a most magnificent ceremony.**
Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour is a military ceremony that has its origin back to the early 18th century or earlier. In the past, the regiment’s colours, or flags, were used as rallying points on the battlefields. It was therefore important to ensure that the soldiers recognised the colours of their regiments. The regimental colours (flags) of the battalion were trooped (i.e. carried) down the ranks so that the men could see and recognize them. Since 1748, the Trooping the Colour parade has also marked the Sovereign’s official birth and from the time of Edward VII’s reign onwards, the Sovereign has taken the salute in person at this parade.
The Queen’s Birthday Parade
Each year, one of the Foot Guards’ regiments is selected to troop their regimental colour through the ranks of the guards. From Buckingham Palace, the Queen travels down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, escorted by the Household Cavalry. At precisely 11:00 a.m. the Royal Procession arrives and the Queen takes the Royal Salute and then carries out the inspection of the troops.
After the march past by the Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry the Queen rides in her carriage back to Buckingham Palace, leading her Guards back to the Palace. A second march past takes place at the Palace where the Queen takes the salute and then the troops return to their barracks.
The Queen is joined by members of the Royal Family on the palace balcony for the 1:00 pm fly-past by the Royal Air Force.
Tickets for the seated stands around Horse Guards Parade are allocated by ballot in March each year for which applications should be made in January or February. However, if you are not successful in your application, you can still watch the procession from the Mall or from the Horse Guards Parade side of St James Park.