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Fancy going to the Queen’s birthday party?

Trooping the Colour Parade at Horse Guards Parade. Image courtesy of Photopin CC

The Queen has two birthday celebrations. The first marks her actual date of birth on 21 April and Her Majesty celebrates this privately.  The second, which this year is on 17 June, is her official birthday and is celebrated with a grand parade to which the public can get tickets to attend.

The main spectacle of the official birthday is called Trooping the Colour which is an impressive display involving 1,000 officers and men, together with two hundred horses and over two hundred musicians. The chosen regiment parade past the Queen holding their flag.  The Queen acknowledges them by bowing her head.

After the parade the Queen and the Royal Family watch a spectacular display by the Royal Air Force from the Balcony of Buckingham. The event is a treat for fans of the Royal Family and those that want to see a traditional British custom that goes back to the 17th Century.

Red Arrow display during Trooping the Colour. Image courtesy of Photopin CC

Whilst the custom of an English Monarch having an official birthday celebration goes back hundreds of years the origins of Trooping the Colour, which means marching with the regiments flag, is even older and was originally part of officers daily routine to ensure all the men in the regiment recognised their flag in battle.


The parade starts from Buckingham Palace along to Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again and until 1987 the Queen inspected the regiment riding side-saddle and wearing the uniform of the regiment whose colour was being trooped but in recent years she has done this by carriage.

If you would like to attend the Queen’s official birthday celebration you can apply for up to three tickets for seats around the Horse Guards Parade.  You will need to submit your request in writing and send it to:

Brigade Major
HQ Household Division
Horse Guards

The deadline for requests is 20 Feb and those lucky enough to be selected will receive a letter in March. If you are lucky enough to be offered tickets, which cost £30 each, send a cheque as soon as possible following the instructions in the letter.  Payment cannot be made by credit or debit card.

If you don’t hear back and still want to go to watch the parade you should head to the Mall or the edge of St James’s Park overlooking Horse Guards. The Parade starts at 11am so aim to get there for 9am if you want to bag a good position.

If you would like to apply for a ticket get writing. Here is a template for you to use and don’t forget to enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

Dear Sirs,

I would like to apply for [insert number] tickets for the seated stands at Trooping The Colour in London in June 2016. I have enclosed a stamped addressed envelope and look forward to hearing to you.

Yours sincerely,
[Your signature]
[Print your name]

Above image: The Queen riding-side saddle during Trooping the Colour. Image provided by TASCHEN.

Cover photo: Courtesy of royal mail via photopin (license)">Photopin.




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