On Saturday 14 June 2014, our beloved Queen’s birthday will once again be celebrated with the traditional Trooping the Colour. This yearly spectacle is such a magnificent manifestation of British culture that many guests of my hotel in Kensington are excitedly chatting about it already. Also, I happen to know that we have visitors coming in from all over the world who will visit Britain’s capital just to witness this event!
Although Trooping the Colour does not take place in my Borough of Kensington, I simply cannot deny you readers the pleasure of learning about this beautiful ceremonial event. Most inhabitants of London, including the majority of my colleagues at the hotel in Kensington where I work, are naturally familiar with it, but for the foreign readers amongst you I will give a short introduction to what it is all about.
The custom of Trooping the Colour originated in the time of Charles II, who was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland in the 17th century. During that time, the colours of a regiment played an essential role in battle, for they made sure that every soldier could distinguish his allies from his opponents. In London, the colours used to be trooped in front of the soldiers every day, and this tradition has been repeated to mark the monarch’s birthday virtually each year from the 18th century on (with some inevitable exceptions and notably the two World Wars, of course).
On the day when London celebrates Trooping the Colour, the Royal Procession will arrive and salute the Queen precisely as the clock on the Horse Guards Building (near the Embankment underground station) strikes 11am. The parade will then start with the Queen inspecting all 8 Guards and the Household Cavalry. After this process, the royal family always gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF fly past.
Also, at 12:52 PM, a 41 Gun Royal Salute will be fired in Green Park. I advise you all to keep this in mind to make sure that you won’t get startled! At 13:00 PM, 62 guns will be fired by the HAC at Gun Wharf at the Tower of London. After that, the peace will return and you will be able to carry on with your day without any sounds of war.
Although I most probably won’t be able to enjoy the Trooping the Colours spectacle in real life this year as I’ll be working, I cannot wait to have a glance at it on the television from the hotel in Kensington I work in. Seeing these kinds of ceremonies simply makes my heart swell of pride for my country! I hope you all will enjoy it too.