Army

All The Gen On Trooping The Colour

What the Queen's birthday parade is all about ...

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

This year, due to the coronavirus outbreak, Trooping the Colour will not be going ahead in the same way, Buckingham Palace has announced.

A decision is yet to be made by the palace, which is considering different options to mark the Queen's birthday. 

But what normally happens at Trooping the Colour and who takes part?

When Is Trooping The Colour?

The event is traditionally held in June and this year it was due on the 13th.

It normally follows a review by Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, on the 6th June and the Major General's Review on the 30th May. 

Trooping the Colour reviewed by The Prince of Wales, and the Major General's Review, are identical to Trooping the Colour reviewed by the Queen, with the exception of some additional mounted officers who ride when the Queen is present.

Who takes part In Trooping The Colour?

The Queen's personal troops, the Household Division. This includes more than 1,400 soldiers on parade, with 200 horses, and 400 musicians (from 10 bands and Corps of Drums).

Trooping the Colour 2016. MoD/Crown copyright 2016

What Happens At Trooping The Colour?

On Horse Guards Parade, the Queen arrives by horse and carriage and is met with a royal salute before carrying out an inspection of 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, she 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 fly-past 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?

If a soldier faints while Trooping the Colour is taking place they aim to "faint to attention", which is why you occasionally see soldiers falling face-first into the ground.

While there is no set policy on whether those who faint should face any official consequences, they know that they're in for a ribbing from their fellow soldiers if they do.

Is It The Same Every Year?

A different Household Guard's Colour is trooped each year.

But the form of the ceremony remains the same, the music also differs, dependant on the Colour being trooped.

This year, it would have been the turn of the Welsh Guards Colour, which means there would likely have been music by Welsh composers.

The Army celebrate the birthday of their Queen. Crown Copyright

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/February, you can apply for a maximum of four tickets under normal circumstances. Prices are broken down as;

  • £40 for the Trooping the Colour reviewed by Her Majesty The Queen
  • £10 for the review by the Colonel of the Regiment (Prince Charles for the Welsh Guards)
  • £5 for the review by the Major General

What Should I Wear To Trooping The Colour?

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 uniform

Trooping the Colour reviewed by the Colonel of the Regiment:

  • 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 Colonel of the Regiment and the Colours as they pass the parade
  • Serving military personnel may wear Ceremonial Day uniform  

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 as they pass the parade
  • Serving military personnel may wear Ceremonial Day uniform  

Cover image: Crown Copyright.