A Colourful Occasion
The Trooping the Colour takes place on June 17th.
Trooping the Colour is a spectacular military ceremony held annually in London on a Saturday in June, to celebrate the British monarch’s official birthday. It’s a magnificent display of military precision and tradition that has been taking place for over 260 years. The event is attended by members of the royal family, government officials, and thousands of members of the public who gather along the parade route to catch a glimpse of the proceedings.
The origins of Trooping the Colour date back to the 17th century when military units would march in front of their monarch to show their allegiance and loyalty. The tradition continued through the centuries and was formalized in 1748 when George II decided to combine his birthday celebration with the military parade. Since then, the reigning monarch’s official birthday has been celebrated with the Trooping the Colour ceremony.
The ceremony itself takes place on Horse Guards Parade in London and is a colourful display of military pomp and ceremony. Over 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians take part in the event, making it one of the largest military parades in the world. The ceremony begins with the arrival of the monarch, who is then escorted by the Household Cavalry to inspect their troops. The King’s arrival will be announced by a fanfare of trumpets, and the national anthem played.
Once the King has inspected his troops, he’ll return to Buckingham Palace, where he’ll watch the remainder of the parade from the balcony. The highlight of the ceremony will be the Trooping of the Colour itself, which involves the soldiers of the Household Division marching in formation with their banners (known as colours). This part of the ceremony is accompanied by music from the Massed Bands of the Household Division, creating a stirring and emotional spectacle.
After the Trooping the Colour, the soldiers will march back to their barracks, and the King will return to the palace for the traditional balcony appearance. This is when the public gets to see the royal family as they wave to the crowds below. The appearance on the balcony is always a highlight of the ceremony, and this year people are expected from all over the world to witness the iconic moment of a new King. An RAF fly-past is expected to mark the ending of the display.
Trooping the Colour is not just a military ceremony; it’s also an important part of our culture and history. It’s a celebration both of the monarchy and the country’s military heritage. The ceremony has been adapted and changed over the years, but it still retains its traditional elements, making it a unique and important event on the British calendar.
By Jamie Maxfield