Queens Celebration – Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour is a traditional ceremony performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies with a long history that originates on the battlefield where a regiment slowly marches their colours between the soldiers’ ranks.
Since the early 18th century Trooping the Colour has also been used to celebrate the official birthday of the British sovereign and is held on the first or 2nd Saturday in June when the weather is likely to be stable. The actual Trooping the Colour with invited guests, dignitaries and ticket holders from the general public (which can be applied for in February through a ballot system) is held on Horse Guards Parade.
Each company of Foot Guards, the mounted bands of the Household Cavalry will all march and parade along The Mall. The Queen also travels down The Mall from Buckingham Palace in the royal procession with an escort of Household Cavalry and will return after the Trooping and inspection of the troops.
Once back at Buckingham Palace, the Queen observes a final march past which is followed by the Kings Troops 41-gun salute in Green Park conducted with their 13-pounder guns from the First World War. The celebrations are concluded with the Royal family observing the Royal Air Force flypast from the palace balcony in front of thousands of adoring fans.
Top Tip: Check the weather or bring a jacket and umbrella, the British summer time weather can be notoriously unstable!
Where is it held and how do I get there?
The Queens birthday celebrations and Trooping the Colour is held in Central London between Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade with the guards, musicians, cavalry and carriages twice travelling along The Mall (adjacent to St James' Park) which connects the two main focal points. After leaving Horse Guards Parade the King's Troop and Royal Horse Artillery will enter Green Park (adjacent to Buckingham Palace) to commence the royal 41-gun salute before returning to their barracks near Buckingham Palace.
Depending where you are coming from, the best way to get to Central London is to either walk or use local public transport. The Tube rail system starts around 6am with many bus services running all night or starting around 0530hrs. Central London can get extremely busy at the best of times, however on the day of Trooping the Colour mean roads will be shut off for the celebrations, plus there is usually up to one million people who come to view the celebrations so bringing your own vehicle is not ideal.
Top Tip: Make sure you go to the toilet before leaving home as it can be a hassle to find, and wait in line, for the public ones once in Central London!