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by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
Trooping the Colour

The Trooping the Colour takes place on the second Saturday in June at Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall in London.

What is the Trooping the Colour?

The official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II is marked each year by a military parade and march-past, known as Trooping the Colour (Carrying of the Flag). The official name is “the Queen’s Birthday Parade”.

Trooping the Colours

Each June, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family attend the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall in London. The Queen attends the ceremony to take the salute from thousands of guardsmen who parade the Colour (their regiment's flag).

It is only the Foot Guards of the Household Division that take part in the Queen’s Birthday Parade, with the exception of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, (based in St. John’s Wood). The Kings Troop, parade round with the Household Cavalry after the Foot Guards have trooped the Colour in slow and quick time.

The Sovereign's Official Birthday

QueenThe Queen's birthday parade is the biggest royal event of the year. In 1748, the celebration of the official birthday of the sovereign was amalgamated (merged) with the Trooping the Colour.

The Trooping the Colour is tradition going back to the days when the Colours (regimental flag of the regiment) was trooped in front of soldiers to make sure everyone could recognise their flag in battle.

The Colours today are trooped in front of the Queen troops of the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry)

Parade Route

The ParadeThe parade route goes from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horseguards Parade, Whitehall and back again.


Queen leaves Buckingham Palace 10.40am

Parade starts 11am

Precisely as the clock on the Horse Guards Building strikes eleven, the Royal Procession arrives at Horseguards Parade and The Queen takes the Royal Salute.

The parade begins with the Inspection, The Queen driving slowly down the ranks of all eight Guards and then past the Household Cavalry.

After the event, the Royal Family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF fly past at 1pm.

The next Trooping the Colour

troopingTrooping the Colour will take place on Saturday 16 June 2012 on Horse Guards Parade. Events begin at approximately 10am and the parade starts at 11 a.m. (lasts approximately one hour).

The processions can be seen from from the Mall. Events begin at approximately 10.00 am, with the fly-past at 1.00 pm.

There are rehearsals on the two previous Saturdays which are also open to the public.


Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London SW1.

Nearest Underground (tube) Station: Westminster, on Circle (yellow), District (green) and Jubilee (Silver) lines.

How to obtain a ticket

You can apply for tickets between 1 January and the end of February by sending a letter (including a stamped self-addressed envelope) to:

Brigade Major
HQ Household Division
Horse Guards
London SW1A 2AX.

Tickets for seated stands around Horse Guards Parade are allocated by ballot in March and successful applicants are notified and asked for payment (cheques must be paid from a British bank).

For further information about Trooping of the Colour, visit

trooping colour queen's birthday parade trooping colour buckingham palace trooping the colour flypast trooping of the colour 2010

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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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