The Colour

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.

Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards ParadeThis 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.

Precisely 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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The Queen’s Birthday Parade
Trooping the Colour

What is The Queen’s Birthday Parade?  What lies behind this annual celebration by five Regiments of Foot Guards, essentially a private ceremony in a public place, showing, through historic military drill, their personal duty to their Sovereign and Colonel in Chief?  What does it stand for, why is it so celebrated and why is it so uniquely British?

Julian Calder has observed the Parade and its rehearsals for over 20 years, photographing the spectacular pageantry and the minute attention to detail that contributes to this familiar annual event.  His photographs, and the accompanying text by Alastair Bruce, past commanding officers and serving soldiers giving the history and personal experiences of the Parade, demonstrate the pride, precision and performance that are synonymous with Trooping the Colour: the Parade which, in the minds of millions of British people and visitors, is at the heart of the United Kingdom.

420 colour photographs including a unique portrait of HM the Queen, specially taken for the book, with soldiers from all the Regiments taking part in the Parade and their Colours.


Pomp and Circumstance
The Band of The Coldstream Guards
A History 1685-2017

Due to be released in May 2018

John Gleeson's painstaking research has uncovered a whole new picture of the band's formation and development over the past 332 years.

Special Offer

20 + 5 P&P [UK]
For more information or pre-order, please email

Click on the book cover above for full ordering information

The Band of The Welsh Guards
A Centenary

Band of The Welsh Guards : A Centenary

March 2016 marks 100 years since the band's first public performance.

Military music historian Colin Dean is the author of a 293 page book celebrating the centenary. It looks at the band's development, its uniforms, the places it has visited, the music it has played and some of the great occasions in which it took part.

Most importantly of all, it celebrates the ladies and gentlemen who have served in the band and made it synonomous with musical excellence for one hundred years, taking the music of Wales around the globe and making it so proudly part of our nation's heritage.

Still available at 20 + p&p.

Click on the book cover above for more details and to order.

Commemorative Cover - Irish Guards ‘Trooping The Colour’ at HM The Queen’s Birthday Parade 2017

The British Forces Philatelic Service, in partnership with the Household Division Charity, will again be producing the official commemorative cover to mark Trooping the Colour at Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Parade.

This majestic cover bears an image that shows all the 'Pomp and Ceremony' that can be seen during this historic parade. The cover will bear a 1st class stamp, cancelled using a unique British Forces Postal Service special handstamp No. 3204. The Colour will be trooped by the 1st Battalion Irish Guards and the cancellation features their regimental capstar.

The covers may be ordered from the BFPS online shop ( They cost just 6 for the standard version and 12 for the signed limited edition versions (UK/BFPO p&p free).
You can also order the covers by post by sending a cheque (payable to ‘BFPS CIC’) to BFPS The Old Post Office Links Place Elie Fife KY9 1AX.

These covers are always popular and are available whilst stocks last.

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