Today was The Queen’s Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour.
The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, and senior members of the Royal Family travelled the short distance from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guard’s Parade to see the celebration, as crowds lined the Mall to catch a glimpse of the Royals.
This year, the Welsh Guards trooped their colours for Her Majesty, despite having also trooped last year. This year marks their centenary anniversary, and The Queen gave the Guards new colours just a few weeks ago.
Her Majesty’s birthday is actually 21st April, but is celebrated in the summer, a tradition began by Edward VII, whose birthday was in November.
Trooping the Colour was a routine performed so that the regiment’s colours or flag would be recognised by the soldiers. In 1748 it was announced that the parade of trooping would mark the Sovereign’s official birthday, a tradition still carried on today.
Our editor, Chloe, was at the parade today; she witnessed the Massed Bands trooping in Horse Guards, along with the Royal arrivals, inspection, and of course the trooping of the Welsh Guards’ colours.
Trooping the Colour is one of the most patriotic events of the Royal calendar, and tickets to the parade are hard to come by; a ballot opens in January to apply, but only a few thousand people can be seated at Horse Guards.
The Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were the first to arrive, riding in a open-topped Barouche carriage. The Duke of York and his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie were in the second carriage, with The Duke of Kent and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester following behind.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrived, escorted by the the Life Guard, with cheers heard from the Mall at Horse Guards.
250 immaculately groomed military horses, six blindingly polished First World War 13-Pounder Guns and 350 military musicians took part in the ceremony. All Household Guards wear the red tunic and bearskin uniform, their buttons, insignia and helmet plume distinguishing them from one another.
During the ceremony – which is full of music – The Queen was greeted by a Royal salute and then carried out an inspection of the troops. The massed bands performed a musical ‘troop’, and the Welsh Guards’ Colour was carried down the ranks.The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry marched past The Queen, and The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, rank past on horseback, taking their guns with them.
The Royal family who arrived in carriages watched from the balcony of Wellingtons office, just behind the dais where Her Majesty sits.
The Queen rode back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards, where she took a salute at the Palace from a dais. The troops then returned to their barracks, signalling the end of the official ceremony.
Following the parade, the Royal Family, minus The Earl and Countess of Wessex, stood on Buckingham Palace’s balcony to watch the fly-past. Prince George made his first appearance at Trooping the Colour today, wearing the same blue suit his father did for his first balcony appearance in 1984.
Today the fly-past was just the Red Arrows, the poor weather from the take off point meaning the impressive WWII planes could not fly.
Yet again, thousands of people flocked to London to line the streets and see the procession of carriages and balcony appearance for The Queen’s birthday, showing their love for The Queen and Royal Family.
Photos: Corporal Max Bryan (Army Photographer), and Ministry of Defence