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Trooping the colour

The official celebration of Trooping the Colour on a Saturday in June signifies the British Sovereign's (Queen Elisabeth II) birthday. Although the Queen's birthday falls on 21st April, the celebrations are in June, as it is summer, and there is a likelihood of good weather. In 1947 the first ceremony was held after the Second World War, and it was then that the present Queen made her initial appearance as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

DateSaturday 12th June 2010
LocationHorse Guards Parade
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Venue details

Horse Guards Parade
Opening timesChanging of the Guard & Dismounting Ceremonies: All year daily, please see special events for details
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History and Heritage events

Trooping the Colour ceremony dates back to the eighteenth century. It used to be held in order to enable the battalion, which would fall in by companies and the colour-party which would "troop" or march the colours through the ranks, to see that the colours were intact.

It was from 1748 that the ceremony was marked as the Sovereign's official birthday whilst it was since King Edward VII's reign (22 January, 1901 - 6 May, 1910) that the Sovereign has taken the salute in person at the ceremony.

The spectacular event is watched by the members of the Royal Family, invited guests and members of the public. Trooping the Colour is carried out by fully trained and operational troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry) on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.

As the clock on the Horse Guards Building strikes 11 precisely, the Queen arrives in her phaeton along with the Royal Procession. The Queen personally inspects all the eight Guards as she then passes the Household Cavalry. The statistics of the event are awesome as over 1400 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 with amazing coordination.

At the end of the main ceremony, the Queen leads the troops down the Mall to Buckingham Palace where she makes the salute. She then appears at the balcony of Buckingham Palace.