The custom of Trooping the Colour dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th. Century when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were therefore trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure that every man could recognise those of his own regiment. In London, the Foot Guards used to do this as part of their daily Guard Mounting on Horse Guards and the ceremonial of the modern Trooping the Colour parade is along similar lines. The first traceable mention of The Sovereign's Birthday being 'kept' by the Grenadier Guards is in 1748 and again, after George III became King in 1760, it was ordered that parades should mark the King's Birthday. From the accession of George IV they became, with a few exceptions and notably the two World Wars, an annual event.
This impressive display of pageantry is now held on the occasion of the Queen's Official Birthday. It takes place in June each year to celebrate the official Birthday of the Sovereign and is carried out by her personal troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade, with the Queen herself attending and taking the salute.
Since 1987, The Queen has attended in a carriage rather than riding, which she did before that on 36 occasions, riding side-saddle and wearing the uniform of the regiment whose Colour was being trooped. The regiments take their turn for this honour in rotation as operational commitments permit.
Over 1000 officers and men are on parade, together with two hundred horses; over two hundred musicians from six bands and corps of drums march and play as one. Some 113 words of command are given by the Officer in Command of the Parade. The parade route extends from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again.
as the clock on the Horse Guards Building strikes eleven, the
Royal Procession arrives and The Queen takes the Royal Salute.
The parade begins with the Inspection, The Queen driving slowly
down the ranks of all six Guards and then past the Household
Cavalry. After the event, the Royal Family gathers on the balcony
of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF flypast.
Overview video clip of Trooping the Colour from the perspective of the Ensign
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British Forces Philatelic Service have produced a first day cover celebrating HM The Queen's Birthday Parade and Trooping The Colour 2016 - The Coldstream Guards
The 2016 Trooping The Colour at The
Queen's Birthday Parade took place during a year that celebrates
Her Majesty's 90th Birthday. It is also the 268th year since the
parade was used to mark the official birthday of the British
In partnership with the Household Division Charity, the British Forces Philatelic Service (BFPS) has once again produced the official commemorative cover to mark this prestigious event. The cover bears a 1st Class stamp from the 'HM The Queen's 90th Birthday' issue, cancelled using the unique BFPS special handstamp No 3198. The Colour was trooped by No 7 Company, Coldstream Guards and both the cancellation and cover feature their Regimental Capstar.
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The HQ London District Household Division official webpage is at: www.householddivision.org.uk