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Trooping of the Colour. The Queen's Official Birthday Celebration

This magnificent Royal ceremony has lots of history surrounding its origin. Today's version of the event can be split into 3 parts. These are; the royal family and troops move along the Mall, the troops parade and the Queen's appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to see the R.A.F. flypast. This parade celebrates the Queen's Official Birthday in June. Although tickets are needed for seats and entry to Trooping of the Colour itself, the public can still see the royals during the Mall processions and during the flypast for free. You can apply free, in writing for tickets, which you will have to pay for.


The Trooping has been a part of the British infantry since the 17th century. It was first been performed during the reign of Charles II. The reason for it back then was pragmatic. The colours (flags) of a regiment were a rallying point during battle. So, to ensure each solider knew which one to look for during a conflict, the colours were paraded (or trooped) before its men every day.

3 Parts of the Trooping of the Colour

Firstly it commences when the Royals depart from Buckingham Palace at 10.30 am. This includes the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent, and the Princess Royal. They are accompanied by their troops and proceed along the Mall to Horse Guards.

Secondly, comes the spectacular Trooping of the Colour parade. This takes place in Horse Guards Parade with some 1,000 soldiers, 300 musicians, and 200 horses. Colourful and musical this is a memorable, major photo opportunity, if you have tickets.

Lastly, when the parade is completed, the entourage moves back to the Palace. At Buckingham palace, at 1.00 pm, the Queen and Prince Philip appear on the balcony for an RAF flypast. The flypast is accompanied by a gun salute from the Tower of London.

The Queens Birthday's

The Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st. however, the Sovereign is lucky and gets two birthdays a year. Her second, or Official, birthday, takes place in the summer, This is so as to avoid bad weather. The Trooping of the Colour ceremony is usually held on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Saturday in June. It is a tradition that marks the British Sovereign's official birthday.

Where to See it

This magnificent ceremony takes place mainly on the aptly named Horse Guards Parade. Horse Guards Parade is located in St James Park in London. It is surrounded by 10 Downing Street to the East, Trafalgar Square to the North, St James Palace to the West and Buckingham Palace to the South-West. The best views of it can be gained from positions along the Mall and at Buckingham Palace.

Apply in Writing - Getting Tickets for Trooping of the Colour

According to our sources at Buckingham Palace, to get tickets you must apply in writing in January or February of the year you wish to go. Tell them who you are, and how many ticket you want. Include with your application a stamped, self addressed envelope.

Apply to: The Brigade Major, Headquarters Household Division, Horseguards, Whitehall, London, SWA1 2AX, England. You should get a notification by post that your application has been received.

In March a ballot takes place to allocate tickets. Successful applicants are then notified. You have to be lucky to get a tickets for the Trooping of the Colour. There are a limited number of seats in Horse Guards Parade that are available to the public.