Rehearsals for The Queen’s Birthday Parade, Trooping the Colour, are now underway in London with the Massed Bands performing a musical rehearsal on the square at Wellington Barracks, which is just down the road from Buckingham Palace.
Every year, the guardsmen and officers of the Household Division present their own colourful annual tribute to Her Majesty in the form of a big parade with over a thousand men on parade and all different regiments of the Army.
This year, HM Welsh Guards have the honour of actually ‘Trooping their Colour’ in front of Her Majesty. The colours are often regarded as one of a regiment’s most prized possessions as they contain the regiment’s battle honours. The colours are always treated with the utmost reverence by soldiers and civilians. At the troop members of the assembled audience must stand as the colour passes and The Queen even bows her head as the colour is ‘consecrated’ on the slow march past.
Today’s rehearsal by the massed bands is just a taste of what’s to come at this year’s troop. Military classics including Les Huguenots, the Grenadiers’ Slow March and British Grenadiers are exhibited at the annual spectacle.
This year the event is on the 15th June. The day is known as ‘The Queen’s official birthday’, a tradition established by Edward VII whose birthday was in November (a month not famed for good weather), so an official birthday was established to provide good weather for the royal celebrations.
After the troop, in which many key members of the Royal Family ride on horseback as colonels of their respective regiments, the Royal Family return to Buckingham Palace where they make a balcony appearance and watch the flypast.