Over the past two centuries, Trooping the Color has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign. Also known as the Queen’s annual birthday parade, Trooping the Color sees hundreds of military personnel go on parade in London under the shadow of monarchy HQ, Buckingham Palace ..
The parade begins at the palace before traveling down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade and back again, and crowds of people line the path to watch the spectacle for themselves.
After the ceremony, the Queen and the Royal Family then appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the traditional RAF and Red Arrows flypast.
In 2020 and 2021, the Queen’s annual birthday parade took place on a much smaller scale at Windsor Castle due to Covid restrictions.
But this Thursday, June 2, Trooping the Color will return in all its glory to the streets of London to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
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The history of Trooping the Color
Traditionally, Trooping the Color originally took place so that soldiers recognized their battalion’s color during battle.
It is thought that Trooping the Color in Britain stems back to the 17th Century, but some think its inspiration is rooted in Roman military tradition.
Britannica explains: “Although the origins of Trooping the Color as a military ceremony are somewhat uncertain, some find its antecedent in the Roman army’s practice of parading a legion’s standard, or flag, in camp in the evening.
Trooping the Color traditions
The parading soldiers at Trooping the Color wear a ceremonial uniform polyclonal of a red tunic and a bearskin hat, and members of the Royal Family leading the parade on horseback also wear this uniform.
In the past, the Queen has taken part in the procession on horseback, but since the 1980s she has often taken a carriage for the procession.
After the ceremony concludes, the Queen watches a traditional RAF flypast from the Buckingham Palace balcony with other members of the Royal Family.
A 41-gun salute is also fired in Green Park to mark the annual event.
Although the Queen’s birthday is in April, throughout her reign the second Saturday in June has traditionally been allocated as her official birthday as sovereign.
With rain highly likely to fall on the birthdays of some former monarchs like King George VI (born December 14, 1895), the sovereign’s birthday parade is held in the warmer months to allow for better weather.
This year the event has uniquely been planned for Thursday, June 2, to kick off the Platinum Jubilee celebrations taking place over the four-day bank holiday weekend.