What is Trooping the Colour?

The Trooping of the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years.

You have probably heard about the Changing of the King’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, but that’s not the only major royal ceremony in which the King’s Guard participates. Every June, as part of the King’s birthday celebration, the uniformed guards parade along the Mall in London.  Fourteen hundred guards strong, the parading soldiers are accompanied by 200 horses and 400 musicians to create a massive patriotic spectacle.  The parade moves from Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade, alongside Members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages. The display closes with an RAF fly-past, watched by Members of the Royal Family from Buckingham Palace balcony.

This ceremony actually started not as a celebration but as a military ritual. Orginally, “trooping the colour” was a means to ensure that the British soldiers were aware of who was on their side in battle. Back in the 17th century, the regimental flags (the “colours”) were paraded by them every morning so that the soldiers could recognize the colors of their own regiment. Since 1748, though, it’s been part of the sovereign’s birthday bash.  The year 2023 will mark His Majesty King Charles III’s first Trooping of the Colour as Sovereign.

Surprise Announcement

On Monday, June 12th, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles III will ride on horseback in his upcoming birthday parade in London on Saturday, June 17th. It will mark the first time the British monarch has ridden on horseback for the annual event since 1986 when Queen Elizabeth last rode in the procession on her beloved horse Burmese.

Newly Appointed Colonels / Remaining Colonels

There are three newly appointed Colonels within the Foot Guards, recently announced:

  • Colonel, Grenadier Guards – The Queen Consort
  • Colonel, Welsh Guards – The Prince of Wales
  •  Colonel, Irish Guards – The Princess of Wales

There will be no change to the existing Colonelcies of the other Regiments within the Household Division, which will remain as below:

  • Colonel, Blue and Royals – The Princess Royal
  • Colonel, Scots Guards – The Duke of Kent
  • Colonel, Life Guards – Lieutenant General Sir Ed Smyth-Osbourne
  • Colonel, Coldstream Guards – Lieutenant General Sir James Bucknall