Wouldn’t it be great to be invited to the Queen’s birthday this year? Well you better pack your best outfit in your baggage then, as the Royal family is officially inviting you to Trooping the Colour, the official public celebration of the Sovereign's birthday, traditionally held on a Saturday in June (not on the actual day of the Queen’s birthday in April). The event will take place on Saturday 14the of June at 10am in Buckingham Palace (along the Whitehall).
The origins of this ceremony dates back to the XVIII century at least, when the regiment flag, known as the Colours of Regiment, was trooped every day in front of all soldiers, to make sure they would memorize the colors and – consequently – readily recognize them during gatherings in battles. From 1748 on though, this event also has marked the official date for the King’s (or Queen’s) birthday celebrations.
Like every year, specifically trained troops belonging to the Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry greet Her Majesty with a royal salute; will march in a sumptuous display of pageantry before the eyes of the Royal Family, special guests, the most Monarchy-affectionate public and thousands of curious passing-by.
This is a truly impressive parade featuring 1400 officers and solider, 200 horses, hundreds of musicians and drums and, of course, the traditional Colours.
The Queen would traditionally lead the guards back to Buckingham Palace on a horse whereas nowadays, she only does on board of a carriage. Back to the Palace, she will stand on the podium to receive the formal salute, before releasing the troops that will head back to their base. Shortly after, it will be the time of the Royal Air Force to fly past the Palace and pay their salute to the Queen and the Royal Family that will be receiving it from the balcony around 1 pm. The parade will start at 10am, but get there early in the morning, not later than 9am, to get a decent view. The event is absolutely free to watch.
That’s your chance to see the Queen and the members of the Royal Family, and practice that subtle twist of the wrist that we all love. Head to the Mall or to the edge of St James's Park to get a good view of the whole parade, alternatively, you can watch it live on BBC; there will be screens in pubs showing the event for all those who don’t have the right hat for the event.
Also, if you happen to be in London a few days before the event, watch out, as an official rehearsal called The Colonel's Review is likely to happen right in front of your eyes.
We recommend you get there by tube as that is the most straightforward way to get to central London without hassles. However, to avoid disappointment, make sure you check the status of the lines or means of transports that interest you, as engineering work is usually carried out on weekends on some lines, and the main roads in Westminster may be closed on the day of the parade. This may affect your journey and cause unwanted delays. The Transports for London website is well worth checking. Here you will be able to find live updates of all modes of transportation in London.
If you are traveling by taxi, you may want to advise your driver that vehicles can have access to Whitehall via Parliament Square, but bear in mind that taxis will probably only drop you off at the Horse Guards entrance, not right at the park.