The Prince of Wales took the salute at the Colonel’s Review for Trooping the Colour on Saturday, the final full-scale rehearsal before the Queen’s Birthday Parade, which will take place this upcoming Saturday. The parade will be broadcast live on BBC One and is held annually to celebrate Her Majesty’s official birthday.
Prince Charles took the salute as Colonel of the Welsh Guards, who are this year trooping their colour in front of Her Majesty, an honour which was given to them especially this year as the regiment marks its centenary.
The Colonel’s Review is one of two full-scale rehearsals, the other being the Major General’s Review, which took place the Saturday before, and was reviewed by the Major General commanding the Household Division, Edward Smyth-Osbourne.
Members of the Royal Family will join Her Majesty on Horse Guards Parade this Saturday as over 1,000 Household Division troops perform the centuries-old ceremony. With music provided by the Massed Bands of the Household Division, along with the Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry, the ceremony will take place at around 11 o’clock, followed by a balcony appearance from the Royal Family and a fly past from the Royal Air Force around 1pm.
The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Princess Royal will ride on the parade on horseback as royal colonels, while the Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of Kent and other members of the Royal Family will process to Horse Guards in carriages. Until a few years ago, the Duke of Kent rode on parade, though was forced to give it up after suffering a stroke.
The parade is the formal marking of Her Majesty’s birthday, arranged to fall on a Saturday in June so as to allow for the best chance of good weather, a practice begun by Edward VII whose own birthday was in November.
As well as the parade, the day will also be marked with the releasing of The Queen’s birthday honours, in which over 1,000 deserving individuals are honoured for various kinds of public service. These will include both personal honours from The Queen (such as in the Royal Victorian Order) and public ones (usually the Order of the British Empire).
This year, Prince Harry’s own uniform will bear a new addition in the form of the Royal Victorian Order’s star and insignia (Knight Commander), which he was awarded by Her Majesty for his ‘personal service’ on Thursday. He leaves the Army at the end of the month, though is reported to be currently preparing to take up the colonelcy of the Life Guards in succession to Lord Guthrie next year, which will see the Prince riding on parade for the first time then.
Following the parade will also be gun salutes, conducted across the country, to mark The Queen’s official birthday. They’ll be done by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Green Park (instead of the usual Hyde Park) as well as from the other usual saluting basis including the Tower of London (by the Honourable Artillery Company).
As well as being a significant year for the Welsh Guards, marking 100 years since their founding, so to is it for the Prince of Wales who celebrates 40 years of being Colonel of the Welsh Guards, having taken over from his father the Duke of Edinburgh in 1975.
photo credits: Crown Copyright 2015, Cpl Jamie Peters RLC