Army

Trooping the Colour in the spotlight – all you need to know

What to wear, where to watch, and what happens when soldiers faint?

Trooping the Colour is a ceremonial celebration of the Queen's birthday, also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade.

This year, Trooping the Colour will hold special status at the start of a long weekend of official events to mark the monarch's platinum jubilee.

And unlike previous years, when the event has generally taken place on the second Saturday of June, in 2022, 'The Trooping', as it is often referred to in military circles, will take place on a Thursday.

Trooping the Colour in 2016 (Picture: MOD).

When is Trooping the Colour?

The event is traditionally held on the second Saturday in June.

However, this year, due to the platinum jubilee, it will fall on Thursday, 2 June.

It usually follows a review by one of the Royal Colonels and the Major General Commanding London District in the weeks immediately before the big day. This means those involved in the event deliver three versions of the parade over the course of three weekends. 

Who takes part in Trooping the Colour?

The Queen's personal soldiers, the Household Division. This includes more than 1,400 soldiers on parade, 200 horses, and 400 musicians.

The Army celebrate the birthday of their Queen (Picture: Crown Copyright).

What happens at Trooping the Colour?

On Horse Guards Parade, the Queen arrives by carriage and is met with a Royal salute before inspecting the troops wearing their ceremonial red tunics and bearskins.

The military bands perform and, while they do so, the Regimental Colour is processed down the ranks of the soldiers on parade.

After the Foot Guards have marched past the Queen, the two regiments that make up the Household Cavalry ride past – twice – on their horses. The Queen then makes her way back to Buckingham Palace.

On the famous palace balcony, alongside other members of the Royal Family, the Queen takes the salute again, and the family watches a flypast by the Royal Air Force.

In Green Park, a 41-gun salute is fired to mark the Queen's birthday.

What happens when a soldier faints on parade?

Soldiers are encouraged to take proactive measures on the morning of any parade to help minimise the risk of fainting.

This includes getting a good breakfast, drinking plenty of water, and even doing some light exercise. 

However, sometimes it can get too hot under the heavy bearskins, and a soldier collapses while standing to attention.

The person concerned is supported off the parade ground and provided with the medical support they require.

The Drum Horses of the Household Cavalry, here seen at a recent parade in Windsor, take a central role in the ceremony of "The Trooping" (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Is it the same every year?

A different "Colour" is trooped each year. 

This year, it's the turn of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards to parade their regimental Colour – an important moment for members of the regiment and its veterans. 

The form of the ceremony remains the same, albeit with slightly different music depending on which regiment is leading the parade with their Colour.

The exception to this tradition was during COVID when a reduced Queen's Birthday Parade was held at Windsor Castle.

Where to watch Trooping the Colour?

Traditionally, the best place for spectators without tickets to stand is along The Mall.

Tickets are allocated through a ballot in January and February. Members of the public can generally apply for a maximum of six tickets.

The ceremony is also televised on BBC1.

 

Members of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards rehearse ahead of June's special jubilee-themed Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards.

What should I wear to Trooping the Colour?

For Trooping the Colour reviewed by the Queen:

  • Morning dress, lounge suit or jacket, tie and trousers, and equivalent for ladies.
  • No denim, shorts or sandals.
  • Hats are optional but advised as a way of giving compliments to Her Majesty and the Colours as they pass the parade.
  • Serving military personnel may wear Ceremonial Day uniforms.

For Trooping the Colour reviewed by a Royal Colonel:

  • Lounge suit or jacket, tie and trousers, and equivalent for ladies
  • No denim, shorts or sandals
  • Hats are optional but advised as a way of giving compliments to the Royal Colonel of the regiment and the Colours as they move around the parade ground
  • Serving military personnel may wear Ceremonial Day uniforms

For Trooping the Colour reviewed by the Major General:

  • Lounge suit or jacket, tie and trousers, and equivalent for ladies
  • No denim, shorts or sandals
  • Hats are optional but advised as a way of giving compliments to the Major General and the Colours
  • Serving military personnel may wear Ceremonial Day uniforms