LondonLife: Trooping the Colour

Last weekend saw thousands gather to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday and watch the annual Trooping the Colour parade down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. The tradition of Trooping the Colour began around the early eighteenth century when the ‘colours’ or flags of battalions were ‘trooped’ through the assembled ranks so they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers (important on the field of battle when the flags were used as a rallying point). Since 1748, the parade has doubled as a way of marking the King or Queen’s birthday (the current Queen’s birthday is actually 21st April). It has been an annual event since 1760 when George III succeeded to the throne and since the reign of Edward VII (1901-1910), the monarch has always been present at the parade. Up until 1986, the current Queen took the salute riding side-saddle on her horse, Burmese, but these days she rides as she did on Saturday with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in Queen Victoria’s 1842 phaeton, returning down the Mall to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with the royal family where they watch an airforce flyby. WEBSITE www.royal.gov.uk/RoyalEventsandCeremonies/TroopingtheColour/TroopingtheColour.aspx

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