Trooping the Colour

article about the trooping the colour ceremony

What is Trooping the colour?

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. 

Trooping the colour is now held on the Queen's Official Birthday. 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, but she did so 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 in rotation.

Over 1,400 officers and men are on parade, together with two hundred horses; over four hundred musicians from ten bands and corps of drums march and play as one. Some 113 words of command are given by the Officer in Command of the Parade. The parade route extends from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again.

Precisely as the clock on the Horse Guards Building strikes eleven, the Royal Procession arrives and The Queen takes the Royal Salute. The parade begins with the Inspection, The Queen driving slowly down the ranks of all eight Guards and then past the Household Cavalry. After the event, the Royal Family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF display.

Last Year's Trooping the Colour

You can watch last year's ceremony on YouTube here

2014 Ceremony

This year celebrates 62 years of Elizabeth’s reign! The colour that will be paraded on Horse Guards for 2014 is the flag of Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards. Did you know to get the ceremony set up, the participants start at 5.30am! 

The Duchess of Cambridge, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry travelled together in another coach, the Duke of York, Princess Eugenie, Earl and Countess of Wessex, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra were in the final carriage.

The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, were on horseback.

A Sovereign's Escort was provided for the procession by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, who wore silver and gold breastplates and plumed helmets.

Live footage and today’s coverage can be found here.

This year’s celebrations were today, Saturday 14th June. You can watch the highlights again at 6pm tonight (14th June) on BBC2.

Happy Birthday, Queen Elizabeth!

Previous Ceremonies

The Daily Telegraph has a great article on the Queen’s first ever Trooping The Colour celebration back in 1952 which you can read here

We found this great blog and collection of imagery from the ceremony in 1953.

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Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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