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Queen Inspects King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery On 70th Anniversary

Her Majesty The Queen has inspected the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery on its 70th-anniversary parade in Hyde Park, London...

Her Majesty The Queen has inspected the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery on its 70th-anniversary parade in Hyde Park, London.

Six guns and more than 80 horses took part in the ceremony in front of the Captain General, the Master Gunner St James's Palace, and their Honorary Colonel.

The King's Troop is the Queen's ceremonial saluting battery, tasked with firing gun salutes for special occasions such as royal birthdays.

As part of the role, the gunners need to be expert equestrians capable of driving in teams of six horses that pull First World War '13-pounder' state saluting guns.  

The unit's gunners are also trained as fighting soldiers who deploy on operations around the world. 

"It means a huge number of things - initially all the preparation that's gone into this, but also commemorating the 70 years of history of the King's Troop," said Captain Gregory Flynn.

"We still do things in the fashion they were done in the 19th century and beyond, so it commemorates the whole history of horse artillery throughout the ages."

Master Farrier, Sergeant Luke Gooding says: "I feel very proud today to be out on parade.

"It's a massive thing for the troops."

 

70 years ago today, King George VI claimed the Royal Artillery's Riding Troop as his own and renamed them 'The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery'.

It followed the King's decision that following the mechanisation of the last horse-drawn artillery batteries, one troop of horse artillery should be preserved for ceremonies of state. 

The Queen was shown the first Review Document signed by her father in 1947. 

It is still possible to see where he scored out the original title of the unit and renamed it: King's.

 

The Driver of the Troop in 1947 (Percy Austen), who was there when King George VI inspected the parade, met the Queen and was presented with an engraved cartridge case. 

When Percy served in the unit it was exclusively male. 

Now though, the King's Troop is unique in the Army as it is the only unit which is currently 50% female.