The Trooping of the Colour parade dates back to the reign of Charles II, who took to the throne during the 17th century. The colours of the regiment were used in battle to ensure every man could recognize their own soldiers; therefore, in London the foot guards would perform these “tagging” duties as part of their daily routine – thus creating the tradition. In 1760 a parade was ordered to mark the king’s birthday, and from the accession of George IV, they became an annual event.
This highly impressive display of patriotic pageantry is now held on The Queen’s birthday. Up until 1987 she would ride side-saddle while wearing the colours of those being trooped – each year the regiments of the commonwealth would take turns performing in the parade. Nowadays she rides in a horse and cart instead.
Although The Queen was born on 21st April, it’s been a long tradition throughout the British monarchy to celebrate the sovereign’s birthday on a public day during the summer. This is mainly due to the weather. The Trooping of the Colour will, therefore, be held this year on Saturday 13th June. Since her reign the Queen has attended every Trooping of the Colour parade – except in 1955 due to a national rail strike – and this year will be no exception.
During the ceremony The Queen is greeted with a Royal salute at the Tower of London and Green Park. When she arrives at the Mall she carries out an inspection of the troops. Afterwards the band will play music while the Regimental Colour is carried down the ranks. The Foot Guards and Household Cavalry then perform their march past The Queen before she takes a carriage back to Buckingham Palace.
How to Watch
The processions can be viewed from the Mall. The event will be kicking off at roughly 10am, and the fly-past will occur at around 1pm. To get the best possible view of the parade and The Queen, try to stand on the edge of St James’s Park. Seated tickets were available; however, they were allocated by ballot in March. To get tickets to next year’s (2016) event, send your applications to the Brigade Mayor, HQ Household Division by January – details can be found via Royal.gov.uk. Tickets for the seated section usually cost around £30.
After the Trooping of the Colour parade the Royal Family will make a balcony appearance while the Air Force performs a fly-past. This usually features the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight team and the Red Arrows. The fly-past marks the end of the event.
The Trooping of the Colour parade is one of the flagship Royal events of the year, and guaranteed to provide a great day out. Thousands of people will congregate in order to get a glimpse of The Queen, so best get there early to secure a decent spot if you’d like to attend. To beat the queues, book a trip on The London Helicopter and see the procession from the sky.