A staple of British tradition since its inception in the 17th century, the Trooping of the Colour is something every Brit should experience at least once in their lifetime.
Celebrated annually in June to mark the Queen’s official birthday, this spectacular display of pomp and ceremony takes place in central London at Horseguards Parade.
The event is showcased live on the BBC every year and is also available to stream online, although being among the crowd and enjoying the color, music and atmosphere in person simply can’t compare to watching from behind a screen.
A historic occasion
The Trooping of the Colour has celebrated the sovereign’s birthday since 1748 and the current monarch has attended the parade every year, bar one, which occurred in 1955 as a result of a rail strike.
Featuring myriad musicians, horses and hundreds of officers from the Queen’s personal guard, the Household Division, the resulting presentation is awash with rousing splendor and, naturally, military precision.
Today’s ceremony reflects the custom of displaying or trooping the colors of a soldier’s regiment to ensure each member recognizes the colors of their unit during the confusion of battle.
A momentous experience
Any member of the public can turn up ticketless to get a glimpse of the parade. The Mall and the edge of St. James’s Park offer vantage points across Horse Guards. Official advice is to try and turn up before the crowds descend to guarantee a clear view – you may need to get there as early as 6am.
With proceedings generally kicking off around 10am, it’s certainly a long time to wait, so remember to bring along water, snacks and something to keep you entertained.
Tickets can be purchased for seated stands, which are allocated via ballot and are usually released for sale in January. Wherever you end up, experiencing this momentous occasion live is sure to leave a lasting impression.