15th June 2013
Trooping of the Colour 2013, will be held on Saturday 15th June 2013 on Horse Guards Parade check out the British Army website for details.
Tickets for the Trooping the Colour are available to the public, however they must be applied for in writing in the January or February prior to the Ceremony and are then allocated by ballot.
If you’re not lucky enough to get a ticket for Trooping the Colour, you can join the crowds of spectators along The Mall to watch the Parade.
You may already know that The Queen’s Birthday Parade in June is also known as Trooping the Colour, but do you know what that means? In military terminology a regiment’s ‘colour’ is its flag, which is symbolically ‘trooped’ (or carried) before The Queen during this historic ceremony.
In a battle these flags were vital so that soldiers could recognise their own regiments, but they’ve since become even more significant, both as a symbol of military pride and to commemorate soldiers killed in action.
The Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade is quite a spectacle with over 200 horses, 400 musicians, 1400 soldiers and, of course, The Queen. On the day anyone can witness the proceedings from The Mall. The pageantry starts at 10.30, with the Royal Air Force flying overhead at 13.00.
The custom of Trooping the Colour dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th. Century when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were therefore trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure that every man could recognise those of his own regiment. In London, the Foot Guards used to do this as part of their daily Guard Mounting on Horse Guards and the ceremonial of the modern Trooping the Colour parade is along similar lines.
The first traceable mention of The Sovereign’s Birthday being ‘kept’ by the Grenadier Guards is in 1748 and again, after George III became King in 1760, it was ordered that parades should mark the King’s Birthday. From the accesssion of George IV they became, with a few exceptions and notably the two World Wars, an annual event.
This impressive display of pageantry is now held on the occasion of the Queen’s Official Birthday. Every year The Queen has two birthdays. Queen Elizabeth II was actually born on 21 April, but she also celebrates an ‘official’ birthday in June (12 June 2010 and 14 June 2011). Since the time of Edward VII (1901-1910) it has been a tradition for the reigning monarch to celebrate an official or public birthday for everyone to enjoy during the British summer.
The Queen’s Official Birthday is celebrated in a number of countries including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In the United Kingdom, it is now celebrated on the first, second, or third Saturday in June. It is marked in London by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which is also known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade.It takes place in June each year to celebrate the official Birthday of the Sovereign and is carried out by her personal troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade, with the Queen herself attending and taking the salute.
Since 1987, The Queen has attended in a carriage rather than riding, which she did before that on 36 occasions, riding side-saddle and wearing the uniform of the regiment whose Colour was being trooped. The regiments take their turn for this honour in rotation as operational commitments permit.
Trooping the Colour and the Queen’s Birthday – A Great British Spectacle!
By Christopher Auriol
What is Trooping the Colour?
The actual Trooping the Colour ceremony dates back to the 17th century, though the origins of this tradition go back hundreds of years beyond that too.
It’s a military tradition and is linked to the fact that different regiments have different colours, flags or insignias to differentiate them from each other. When going in to battle the flag or colours would be paraded, or trooped, around the soldiers so that they could see and recognise the colour of their regiment and know where to go when in battle. After the battle was fought the colours would be trooped around again to show the soldiers that the regiment was still intact.
The ceremony that takes place today is largely just ceremonial but it’s very important to both the British Army and the current Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. Since 1748 Trooping the Colour has also been used to celebrate the Official Birthday of the King or Queen of Great Britain. This day in June was chosen back then as it was hoped it would be a nice summer day that all the people could enjoy!
What will you see at Trooping the Colour?
The Trooping the Colour and Queen’s Birthday involves a parade of 1,400 officers and men, including 400 musicians, and 200 horses. They all march and drum their way from Buckingham Palace down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade in Whitehall, where the Queen enters and does her Inspection. After the actual Trooping the Colour ceremony and the Royal Salute they all leave Horse Guard’s Parade and make their way back down The Mall ending up back at Buckingham Palace. The Queen then joins the rest of the Royal Family up on the famous balcony of the Palace and there’s a spectacular flypast by the Royal Air Force.
You can stand almost anywhere along the wide avenue that’s called The Mall and see the parade go by both times. On the return you should get a good look at the Queen herself! Tickets are not required for spectators to stand along The Mall or outside Buckingham Palace, but you do need tickets for the ceremony at Horse Guard’s Parade. These are allocated via a ballot in March each year, and you have to apply by letter in January and February to get tickets for Trooping the Colour 2013. Keep an eye on the Official Website of the British Monarchy for instructions on applying for tickets in 2013.
Visiting London for Trooping the Colour
With so many of London’s famous landmarks so close by you’d be silly not to make at least a weekend of your visit to London. Many of the city’s best hotels are very close by such as the famous The Ritz, and the May Fair, or choose one of the many hundreds of other hotels in London. Nearby attractions include Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, and some of the best London parks, so bring a picnic!
Christopher Auriol is a Travel Specialist with TwilightBlue Travel.
Visit twilightblue.eu for more information on Trooping the Colour [http://www.twilightblue.eu/en/articles/trooping-the-colour.aspx] and Carnivals and Festivals [http://www.twilightblue.eu/en/articles/articles.aspx] throughout Europe.
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