On the second Saturday of every June, the British Army hosts the Trooping of the Colours outside Buckingham Palace to honor the Monarch's birthday. This tradition dates back to 1748, so it inconsequential that Queen Elizabeth's actual birthday is April 21.
Since this is a British event, I'll defer to the British spelling of Colours.
The Trooping of the Colours is a spectacular display of military pride and precision. It honors the battlefield tradition of the command staff parading the colours (flags) through the camp so soldiers could see that the colours were still intact, thus inspiring then to continue the fight for God, Country, and King.
The Trooping of the Colours includes every unit in the British Army, including "guards" that most tourists associate with Buckingham Palace. Cara Elliott from the Word Wenches posted an informative blog about the different guards:
If you miss the Trooping of the Colours, you can still enjoy the daily "Changing of the Guard" outside Buckingham Palace. From the website http://www.army.mod.uk/events/ceremonial/1068.aspx:
"The Queen's Life Guard are the mounted troopers of the Household Cavalry who guard the official entrance to St James' Palace and Buckingham Palace outside Horse Guards in Whitehall. The Guard Changing Ceremony takes place each weekday at 11:00am and at 10:00am on Sundays at Horse Guards (behind Whitehall). The mounted sentries (who change every hour) are on duty each day from 10:00am until 4:00pm.
The Queen's Guard in London comprises two detachments, one each for Buckingham Palace and St James' Palace, under the command of the Captain of The Queen's Guard. The Guard Changing Ceremony takes place each weekday at 11:00am and at 10:00am on Sundays at Horse Guards. The mounted sentries (who change every hour) are on duty each day from 10:00am until 4:00pm."
Most tourists wait in front of Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. But I recommend walking over to:
- Whitehall to see the Changing of the Horse Guards (see above for times)
- St. James' Palace where the Queen's Guard reports for duty, lines up for inspection, and marches to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard (plan to be at St. James' Palace @ 1/2 hour before the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Place - see above for times)
For more information about Whitehall, log onto:
For more information about St. James' Palace, log onto:
For more information about Buckingham Palace, log onto:
Have you seen the Trooping of the Colours or the Changing of the Guard? Have you seen the military perform special ceremonies in the US? Europe? Elsewhere in the world?
Leave a comment for the chance to win a special "Trooping of the Colours" prize. Comments will be open through June 23 as I will be traveling in the next two weeks.