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By Travel at 60In Inspiration, Latest, inspiration, latestOn Thursday 7th Jun, 2018

All eyes will be on the Buckingham Palace balcony today as Meghan Markle attends her first Trooping the Colour

There'll be a new family member on the balcony at this year's event. Source: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty


The annual tradition of Trooping the Colour is set to take place in London today, June 9, in honour of the Queen's birthday (which was actually on April 21, when she turned 92). Dating all the way back to the 17th century, the celebratory parade seems to get more popular every year.

Here's a quick look at all the pomp and circumstance:

Steeped in tradition, Trooping the Colour is traditionally held on the second Saturday of June, and is one of the most spectacular and highly anticipated days in the Royal calendar. 

Source: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images
Source: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images

On the day, members of the Royal family travel in procession along The Mall, from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade and back again.

Source: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
Source: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

As well as the procession, the event includes a military parade and the chance for the Queen to inspect her personal troops – the Household Division – on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

When Her Majesty arrives at Horse Guards Parade she is greeted by a royal salute and then inspects troops from the Household Division. 

Source: Andrew Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images
Source: Andrew Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

The Queen used to ride in the parade, but for many years has taken a carriage. She rode her favourite charger, a black mare called Burmese, in every Trooping the Colour from 1969 until 1986, when the horse was retired. Rather than train another charger for the role, The Queen decided to be driven in a phaeton (a four-wheeled carriage) from then on.

Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images
Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

Read more: The ultimate UK summer events calendar

A look back: The Queen takes a salute (while riding side-saddle!) during the 1953 Trooping of the Colour ceremony outside Buckingham Palace. The Duke of Edinburgh rides at her side.

Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

After inspecting her troops, the Queen is then driven back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards (pictured are members of the Life Guards).

Source: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
Source: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

After the parade, members of the Royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave to the crowds and watch the spectacular RAF flypast.

Source: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty
Source: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty

Young members of the Royal family – who missed out on the carriage procession – get to join in the fun on the balcony. Prince George and Princess Charlotte made an appearance in 2017 [pictured], while this year all eyes will be on the newlyweds, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Meghan Markle makes her first appearance on the balcony.

Source: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty
Source: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty

The Flypast is one of the highlights of the day. Here, members of the Red Arrows, the British Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, fly in formation past The Shard skyscraper, during Trooping the Colour in 2017.

Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images
Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

At the 2014 parade the RAF Flypast featured a Lancaster bomber flanked by two Spitfires – magnificent historic aircraft that played a huge role in World War II.

Source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Read more: 6 right royal places named after Queen Elizabeth II

Some Trooping the Colour history: Once upon a time it took place before battle, when regimental colours or flags were marched ("trooped") past ranks of soldiers.

Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

It's believed the ceremony was first performed during the reign of King Charles II (1630-1685).

Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images
Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

In 1748 it was decided that the parade would be used to mark the official birthday of the Sovereign. George II, who was king at the time, was born in cold November, so his birthday celebration was combined with the annual spring parade known as Trooping the Colour, to ensure that (hopefully) the weather would always be good.

Source: Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images
Source: Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

More than 1,400 officers take part in the ceremony, as well as 200 horses and more than 400 musicians from 10 bands. It's a magnificent sight – don't forget your camera!

Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images
Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

Throughout her (so far) 66-year reign, the Queen has only missed Trooping the Colour once, in 1955, when it was cancelled due to a national rail strike. It doesn't matter if the weather's rubbish – the troops are kitted out with appropriate wet-weather gear.

Source: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images
Source: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

If you're in London and want to watch the parade, you need to head to The Mall or the edge of St James's Park overlooking Horse Guards. If you're lucky, you can get tickets for seated stands around Horse Guards Parade, which are allocated by ballot. But you're too late for this year's event – make your application in January/February for the 2019 ceremony.

Source: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Source: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
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