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  • Rachel Burchfield

Trooping the Colour is here!


Photo: The Family takes in the flypast at Trooping the Colour last year. Look at Charlotte geeking out and just try not to laugh.

Saturday is Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday that occurs the second Saturday in June. This Trooping the Colour (have to make sure you add in that u to make it British!) will be extra special, as it is set to be Prince Louis’ first Trooping and his first Royal event; Meghan is also supposed to make an appearance at the event even though she is on maternity leave, and speculation ensues that we might even see Archie! (But that’s doubtful.)

Here are some fast facts about Trooping – and get ready for a followup post Monday about it!

· It’s the Queen’s Birthday Parade – but wait, wasn’t the Queen born on April 21? You’re right, eagle-eyed Royal Watcher! The Queen likes to keep her actual birthday in April a private family affair (although there are usually several gun salutes at midday); the fanfare happens at Trooping. It is a day of ultra-British pride – think Union Jack flags flying everywhere and pageantry in its greatest form. Bucket list item: Go to Trooping the Colour someday! The Queen attends (obviously), as does the entire Family.

· The annual summer military parade dates back to 1758, and during the parade, the Queen inspects soldiers from the Household Division on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall.

· Every year a different regiment’s Colours are trooped, and this year it’s the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

· At the parade, there will be 1,400 officers and men, 200 horses, and 400 musicians from 10 bands. The Queen has taken the salute at every parade since her ascension in 1952, except for in 1955, when there was a national rail strike.

· Trooping begins when the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace in a carriage at approximately 10:45 a.m. She’s accompanied by an escort from the Household Calvary Mounted Regiment. (She used to arrive riding side-saddle on a horse, wearing the uniform of the regiment being trooped; since 1987, she’s opted for the carriage.)

· At 11 a.m. she arrives at Horse Guards Parade to take the Royal salute, then carries out an inspection of the troops, who wear the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats. The regiment’s Colour (its flag) is then carried down the ranks, following music from the marching bands.

· Once the soldiers have marched past the Queen, she returns to Buckingham Palace at 12:20 p.m. for a second salute.

· At approximately 12:52 p.m. (my God, I love this stuff so much), a 41-gun salute is conducted in Green Park. At this time, the Queen is joined by the Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. They then witness a Royal Air Force flypast, which personally is my favorite part of the event and gives me total full-body chills every single time.

· What does Trooping the Colour mean? Well, Colours are the regimental flags of the British Army which displayed the uniform colours and insignia of different units. They helped troops identify their unit on the battlefield and avoid confusion. In order for troops to be familiar with their regiment’s Colours, it was necessary to display them regularly. As a result, young officers would march in between the ranks of troops who stood in lines holding their Colours high. This is the origin of the term “trooping.”

· Originally, the Queen chose to hold her official birthday celebration on the second Thursday in June, just like her father, King George VI, did before her. However, in 1959, she changed it to the second Saturday in June, and it has been that way ever since – 60 years this year. Why June? The weather in London. Summer is the only proper time for an outdoor parade like this.

· If you have access to BBC, it is televised live on the network annually. I’m going to try to watch on my mom’s Britbox! (If you don’t have a Britbox and love the Royal family and British culture – you need to get a Britbox or have access to someone’s you can mooch off of, like I do. Hi Mom!)

Big thank you to The Telegraph for teaching me more than I ever knew about Trooping! Let’s all celebrate our British pride and our love for the Queen on Saturday. God Save the Queen!

And, because I love you all, watch for a bonus post looking back on Kate and Meghan’s Trooping the Colour fashion through the years! I can’t wait to see what they wear this year.

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