The Trooping of the colour has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign since 1748, and is held in London annually on a Saturday near the Queens birthday.
This traditional ceremony was an important event for the regiments as its their ‘colours’ were used as rallying points during battle. It was therefore important that the regiments ensigns were recognisable to the troops who were fighting and this was done via a slow march of the colours.
A regiment’s colours embody its spirit and service, as well as its fallen soldiers. The loss of a colour, or the capture of an enemy colour, were respectively considered the greatest shame, or the greatest glory on a battlefield. Consequently, regimental colours are venerated by officers and soldiers of all ranks, second only to the sovereign.
Only battalions of infantry regiments of the line carry colours; the Royal Artillery’s colours, for example, are its guns. Rifle regiments did not form a line and thus never carried colours. Their battle honours are carried on their drums. The exception to this is the Honourable Artillery Company, which has both a stand of colours and guns.
Trooping the Colour is an old ceremony whereby a battalion would fall in by companies and the colour-party would “troop” or march the colours through the ranks so that every man would see that the colours were intact. This was done before and after every battle. This ceremony has been retained through time and is today largely ceremonial.
For more information on the event see
Trooping of the Colour – official Website
Trooping of the Colour Wikipedia
This post gives a flavour of some of the sites you can see if you position yourself outside Buckingham palace. It does get very crowded, and it it is not easy to get a good spot unless you arrive very early.
These are some of the photos I was able to take today (14th June) and only shows the journey towards Horse Guards Parade. I hope to do future posts on the Trooping of the Colour itself, the return leg and the Fly Past which is watched by Royal Family from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.