I have to admit that I’ve never given much thought to travelling up to London to witness a royal event, but last weekend, friends had a spare ticket for the rehearsal of Trooping the Colour in preparation for the Queen’s birthday and asked if I fancied coming along.
I must say that sitting in one of the grandstands at Horse Guards Parade and watching the military pomp and pageantry unfold in front of me was very enjoyable! A bonus too, that I like a man in uniform and the Guards we chatted to afterwards were in great spirits and good fun to talk to. A great opportunity for photography too!
I didn’t know much about the origins of Trooping the Colour, so finding out more was rather interesting. It dates back to the Middle Ages when a Lord flew his flag in battle so that his followers could distinguish him. The flags came to be known as ‘Colours’ and were of major importance during the chaos of battle, as they helped troops identify their units.
The ceremony of Trooping of the Colour was first performed back in 1660 during the reign of King Charles and in later years it was decided that this parade would mark the official birthday of the Sovereign and so became an annual event. Quite incredible then that the Queen has taken the salute at every parade since her accession to the throne 63 years ago, except in 1955 when there was a national rail strike. The Queen used to inspect the troops on horseback, but does so now in a horse-drawn carriage.
Only one colour can be trooped at a time, and the five Household Regiments – Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards take their turn each year.
If you’ve never experienced Trooping the Colour before, I can highly recommend it.
Happy birthday your Majesty!