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Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
12:00 AM 15th June 2024
lifestyle

Trooping The Colour - The King's Birthday Parade

 
Trooping the Colour 2014 - credit Robert Harris
Trooping the Colour 2014 - credit Robert Harris
Trooping the Colour is a magnificent display of pageantry and is normally held on the second Saturday in June and so in 2024 this will be today (Saturday 15 June). This is something which I had the pleasure of witnessing all of 10 years ago.


What is Trooping the Colour?

Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the monarch for over 250 years. So King Charles III celebrates his actual birthday in November and the official event in June.

When held?

Since 1748 the ceremony of Trooping the Colour is always held on the second Saturday in June and takes place at Horse Guards Parade, behind Whitehall near St James's Park. It is when the monarch inspects the soldiers from the Household Division and a different regiment's Colours are trooped each year. This year the honour to Troop their Colour falls to Number 9 Company Irish Guards.

Why does the monarch have two birthdays?

The tradition dates back to the 1700s when George II decided that as his birthday was in November and the weather in the UK would no doubt be too cold then, he would have the Trooping the Colour parade in June.

So George II decided to hold two celebrations: the annual military parade (Trooping the Colour) in June and his actual birthday he would celebrate in private in November.

Gun salute in Green Park - credit Robert Harris
Gun salute in Green Park - credit Robert Harris
Gun Salute

For special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries a Gun Salute is fired in different locations across London. The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery fires a 41 gun salute in Green Park for His Majesty's official birthday. On the other side of London the Honourable Artillery Company fires a 62 round Gun Salute from the Tower of London.

Flypast

Another spectacle to behold is the planned flypast down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace which is witnessed by members of the Royal family who appear on the Balcony. Let's hope the weather is good otherwise the flypast has to be scaled down when weather conditions are poor.