Her Majesty The Queen is set to be joined by members of the Royal Family on Horse Guards Parade tomorrow morning for the traditional Queen’s Birthday Parade, Trooping the Colour for Her Majesty.
The Queen, travelling in her carriage with the Duke of Edinburgh, will be joined by Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duke of Kent and Princess Anne who will follow her in their uniform on horse back whilst other members of the Royal Family will arrive at the parade ground ahead of The Queen to view the parade from the Duke of Wellington’s old office, overlooking the parade ground.
From Horse Guards, The Queen and members of the Royal Family will watch the Birthday Parade during which Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards will troop their colour this year.
In their scarlet tunics and bearskin caps, over 1,000 soldiers and officers of the Household Division will be on parade as well as the Household Cavalry and the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
Whilst today, Trooping the Colour is a military display fundamentally, its origins come from the days when soldiers would have their regimental colour trooped in front of them before battle so they’d know what the flag’s markings looked like and in the confusion of battle would be able to recognise and rally round it.
The colours in the regiments are guarded jealously, when on guard duty at St James’s Palace, the ensign sleeps with the colour in his room. The regiment’s battle honours are emblazoned on the colour, a reminder they are not a ceremonial regiment.
Following the Royal Family’s return to Buckingham Palace, the family will appear on the balcony before an RAF fly past. It is one of the few occasions in the year where the entire extended Royal Family are all present in the same location, including cousins and other relations.
Gun salutes will also be conducted from Green Park and at the Tower of London (41 and 62 guns respectively) for the occasion.
The Duke of Edinburgh hosted the Senior Colonels conference at Buckingham Palace this evening where he was joined by the royal colonels for a dinner in advance of the parade.
There are 7 regular regiments of the Household Division, plus one Reserve regiment – the London Regiment – of which the Earl of Wessex is colonel.
Firstly, there are the 5 regiments of foot guards (the ones in the distinctive scarlet tunics and bearskin caps). In order of seniority, they are: The Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards.
There are also the two regiments of the Household Cavalry: the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals.
This year, the Nijmegen Company of the Grenadier Guards are trooping their colour. Nijmegen Company is the dedicated ceremonial company in the Grenadiers and all new soldiers spend around two years in Nijmegen Company when they join.
Although the uniform is the same for each of the five regiments of foot guards, there are uniform differences which set each of them apart:
- The Grenadiers have a white plume on the left of the bearskin and the buttons on their tunics are evenly spaced.
- The Coldstream Guards have a red plume on the right and buttons are grouped in twos.
- The Scots Guards have no plume in the bearskin as ‘centre of the line’ and buttons are in threes.
- The Irish Guards have a St Patrick’s blue plume on the right of the bearskin and buttons in fours.
- The Welsh Guards have a white-green-white plume on the left of the bearskin with buttons in fives.
The Life Guards are distinctive from the Blues and Royals in several more noticeable ways. The Life Guards wear a red tunic, whilst the Blues and Royals wear a dark blue or black tunic. The Life Guards plumes on their helmets are white whilst the Blues and Royals are red. Interestingly, by traditions, the Blues and Royals wear the chin strap of their helmet under their chin whilst the Life Guards wear it just below their lips.
Members of the Royal Family often hold colonelcies of Household Division regiments. The Queen is Colonel-in-Chief of all the Household Division regiments, though each regiment has its own colonel:
- Grenadier Guards: The Duke of Edinburgh
- Coldstream Guards: Lieutenant General James Bucknall
- Scots Guards: The Duke of Kent
- Irish Guards: The Duke of Cambridge
- Welsh Guards: The Prince of Wales
- The Life Guards: The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank
- The Blues and Royals: The Princess Royal
Many of the marches played at Trooping the Colour remain the same each year. Here is an ordered list of the known marches playing this year for Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards as they troop their colour this year.
- Les Huguenots (Slow March)
- The Captain General (Quick March)
- British Grenadiers (Quick March)
- Escort to the Colour (Slow March)
- The Grenadiers’ Slow March (Slow March)
- Nairac GC (Slow March)
- [Regimental Slow Marches] Scipio, Garb of Old Gaul and Figaro
- Coburg (Slow March)
- The Nijmegen Company (Quick March)
- [Regimental Quick Marches] British Grenadiers, Hielan Laddie and Milanollo
- The Mareth Line (Quick March)
- Vimy Ridge (Quick March)
– Household Cavalry & King’s Troop March Past – – Guards March Off –
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