how you can watch in person or even take part

Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

Although Trooping the Color was first performed for military purposes under King Charles II in the 1600s, the parade became an official part of the British calendar a century later.

It is a tradition that was started by George II in 1748 and it owes its origins to the ageless problem of the British weather.

George was born in November and felt the weather would be too cold at that time of year for a birthday parade. He consequently decided to combine his birthday celebration with an annual military parade.

It is a tradition that has continued to this day, with all British sovereigns being given the option of having an ‘official’ birthday.

Because the Queen’s real birthday is on April 21, she chose to hold her celebration in June each year. When she first ascended the throne she chose to hold her official birthday de ella on the second Thursday of June; the same day as her her father her King George VI’s official celebration.

However, in 1959 the Queen decided that her official birthday should be held two days later, on the second Saturday of June – and it has been the same ever since.

What happens during Trooping the Colour?

During the parade the Queen inspects soldiers from the Household Division on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.

The colorful display of pageantry features 1,400 officers and men on parade, 200 horses and 400 musicians from 10 bands. The Queen always attends and takes the salute.

According to the Household Division, 113 words of command are given by the Officer in Command, and each year a different regiment’s colors are trooped.

The parade begins when the Queen departs Buckingham Palace in a carriage, accompanied by a Sovereign’s escort from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment at 10am.

She used to arrive riding side-saddle on a horse, wearing the uniform of the regiment being trooped. However, since 1987 she has arrived by carriage.

The Queen arrives at Horse Guards Parade to take the Royal salute from the officers and men on parade at 11am and then carries out an inspection of the troops wearing the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats.

The Regimental Color (flag) being trooped is then carried down the ranks following music by the bands.

Once the soldiers have marched past the Queen, she returns to Buckingham Palace for a second salute.

Once there, she is joined by members of the Royal family on the balcony of the palace. A 41-gun salute is then conducted in Green Park.

The Queen has taken the salute at every parade since her accession to the throne 68 years ago, except in 1955 when there was a national rail strike.

Last year, however, the Welsh Guard and massed Bands of the Household Division led a scaled down celebration at Windsor Castle, due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The socially-distanced ceremony was pulled together with just two weeks of rehearsals and the Royal family watched from their homes instead of making their usual appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.

How can I watch the Queen’s Birthday Parade?

The Queen’s Birthday Parade is televised live by the BBC each year.

It is usually possible to watch the parade up close, either by purchasing tickets or by standing on The Mall, where the Queen and members of the Royal family travel to and from Buckingham Palace in carriages.

This article is kept updated with the latest information.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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