Trooping the Color in Honor of Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen’s Birthday Parade, otherwise known as Trooping the Color, is set to take place on Saturday 14 June 2008. Loyal Royal fans turn out in their droves, waving miniature Union Jacks, patiently waiting to catch a glimpse, no matter how fleeting, of the Queen and her Royal entourage as they pass by.
The custom of Trooping the Color dates right back to the 17th century, a time when Charles II was the ruler of England. At that time the colors of an army regiment were used to identify a rallying point in battle and were trooped in front of the soldiers on a daily basis to ensure that every soldier would be able to instantly recognize those of his own regiment. From 1755 onwards, the Foot Guards carried out this daily ceremony as part of their Guard Mounting on Horse Guards, and it was in 1805 that this parade was carried out as part of the sovereign’s birthday celebrations.
Trooping the Color is no longer a daily ritual, and has become an impressive display of pageantry that forms part of the Queen’s Official Birthday celebrations in June each year. The ceremony is carried out by the Queen’s personal troops, known as the Household Division, on Horse Guards’ Parade, with the Queen traveling in an open horse-drawn carriage.
At precisely 11:00 am, the Royal Procession arrives and the Queen takes the Royal Salute. The parade starts with an inspection of the troops. The Queen is driven slowly down the ranks of all eight Guards before passing the Household Cavalry. The officer in command of the parade issues some 113 commands to the more than 1,400 officers and men during the parade, while over four hundred musicians from ten bands and corps of drums march and play in perfect unison. The route that the parade follows extends from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to the Horse Guards’ Parade, past Whitehall and back to the Palace. At the conclusion of Trooping the Color, the Royal Family gathers on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch a Royal Air Force fly-past.
In this fast-paced world with constantly changing values, loyal subjects of the British Monarchy take time out to respect their sovereign, and a time-honored tradition – Trooping the Color.