Earlier today The Queen arrived at a drizzly Hyde Park to inspect the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery regiment, on the 70th anniversary of their establishment.
Her Majesty, dressed in a pink and wearing her regimental brooch, took to the dais shortly after arrival, to take the royal salute in the royal park. She then got into the state Range Rover to inspect members of the regiment. After driving past, she took her seat to watch the horses and heavy artillery thundering by and giving the royal salute.
Six Guns, more than 80 horses and their riders from paraded in all their gold-braided finery in front of their Captain General, the Master Gunner St James’s Palace, and their Honorary Colonel, who rode in the state Range Rover.
The Queen watches on as the Troop put on a fantastic display for today’s anniversary parade. pic.twitter.com/MT9qtXG2VC
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) October 19, 2017
After the salute, The Queen attended a reception, where she spoke to some members of the regiment, and received a posy from a young girl.
One guest at the reception was Percy Austen, who was in service in 1947 when King George VI inspected the parade. Also of note that the Monarch spoke to is Sergeant Colton, the first female Master Tailor of the regiment, and Sergeant Wyatt, the first female Master Saddler.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery regiment – also called The Gunners – plays an important role in major ceremonial events, but is also deployed across the globe on military missions. The regiment has 111 horses of different colours and sizes, with all personnel based at the Woolwich Barracks in London. The Gunners are probably most well-known for firing gun salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions, and pulling the 13-pounder field guns past the queen during Trooping the Colour.
The regiment was first established in October 1947 on the orders of Her Majesty’s father, King George VI, when he stated his intention to protect the last remaining regiment from becoming mechanised after the Second World War. At the founding ceremony, King George famously crossed out the old name of the unit in the visitors’ book, which was Riding Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and renamed it King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
Of course, after George VI’s death, the regiment was to become ‘Queen’s Troop’, but Her Majesty declared the name would not change, in honour of her father.
Today, the regiment is formed of a unique 50/50 split between men and women, and one of The Queen’s own former racehorses, Knock Castle, counts amongst the 111 horses. Her Majesty was ‘reunited’ with the animal today.
To finish the engagement, The Queen signed a note marking her visit on the troop’s 70th anniversary; this was placed alongside the one George VI signed during his 1947 inspection of the regiment. The Sovereign also posed for a photo with the senior officers of the regiment.