12 June 2023
Following two runs of the Trooping of the Colour, the stage is set for the King's Birthday Parade. Kerry Culbert reports.
King Charles III will attend his first Trooping of the Colour on 17 June in London. Trooping of the Colour was introduced in 1805 and marks the official birthday of the reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth II was the first UK monarch to celebrate her birthday twice, one being the actual birthday, the other being the official birthday, and King Charles is carrying on the tradition. He was actually born on 14 November 1948.
Trooping of the Colour ceremonies run in the courtyard of Horse Guards Parade on 3, 10 and 17 June, using the personal troops of the King, the Household Regiment. You can watch the procession in the barricaded streets between the Whitehall and Park exits and along streets leading in and out of the mall to Buckingham Palace. Only if you have tickets for the courtyard-seated ceremony can you watch the full ceremony. The first run of the Trooping of the Colour was presented to the Major-General on 3 June, the second run was presented to Prince William, on 10 June, where a number of troops collapsed during the performance in the extreme heat conditions.
In the ceremony the Household Division perform with perfectly timed foot soldiers moving in formation to accommodate incoming troops on foot or horseback. Wearing red jackets with golden buttons they have been deployed since 1660 they are now operational in Saudi Arabia and Ukraine. Originally they fought on horseback which is why horses are such a big part of the Trooping of the Colour. The HRC Regiment fight in armoured vehicles today. The horses standing in formation parade around foot Guards with cannons pulled behind. These perfectly timed soldiers are present at public events throughout the UK and world.
The Sovereign, Head of Forces or serving royal arrives at the Courtyard to a royal salute and leads the inspection. Soldiers take it in turns to be part of the ceremony. Others will be part of security checking bags etc. Some positioned between rows and entrances showing people to their seats and giving cues when it is time to stand up to pay respect.
Bands play before a regimental flag or colour is presented down the ranks of soldiers. Military connected personnel in the seated area take off hats and stand as a sign of respect as the flag goes along the ranks.
The Royal family arrive in carriages and horseback in the final ceremony and there’s an RAF fly past over Buckingham Palace. A 41 gun salute will be fired at Green Park. 1400 officers, 200 horses and bands of the Household Division are to take part.
The Major General’s Review on Saturday 3 June was reviewed by Major-General CJ Ghika, Regimental Colonel of the Welsh Guards. The photos on this page are from that review. The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is the King’s Life Guard and will be present on 17 June. The Grenadier Guards also form part of his protection and the King is their Commander-in-Chief. Tickets for the King’s Birthday Parade were available by ballot only which has now been drawn.
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