On Saturday, June 17, 2023, the British royal family will come together for the first birthday parade of King Charles' reign--Trooping the Colour. What is Trooping the Colour? Trooping the Colour is the annual birthday parade for the British sovereign as well as a celebration of the armed forces. King Charles' actual birthday is November 14th, when he will have a more private celebration.
The ceremonial presentation of the military's regimental flags, called 'colours,' was first started by King George II in 1748. His November birthday was deemed too cold for a celebratory parade, which prompted him to tie his public celebrations with the annual Trooping the Colour military parade. It was under King Edward VII's reign that the summer 'official' celebrations included the inspection of the troops by the monarch.
In order to ensure that every soldier would be able to recognize their colours, the flag would be marched or 'trooped' regularly round the ranks. A regiment's colours came to have huge significance for serving soldiers, and the gain or loss of colours were seen as decisive moments in battle.
Over 1,500 soldiers, 300 horses, and 400 musicians will take part in Trooping the Colour. The King will arrive and receive a royal salute before he inspects the troops, which will be dressed in ceremonial uniforms and bearskin hats.
His Majesty The King will take the Salute as Colonel in Chief of the seven regiments of the Household Division. This will mark the first time that the reigning Monarch will be on horseback at Trooping the Colour since 1986, when Queen Elizabeth II last rode.
Members of the British royal family will travel by horse-drawn carriages or on horseback. The King will lead the procession to Buckingham Palace and then take another salute from the dais. Charles will then lead members of the royal family out on the palace balcony. The Royal Air Force will perform a colorful flypast and there will also be a 41-gun salute fired from nearby Green Park.
King Charles is the colonel-in-chief of the seven regiments of the household division. Prince William is the colonel of the Welsh Guards. William's wife Catherine is the honorary colonel of the Irish Guards. Queen Camilla is the colonel of the Grenadier Guards. Princess Anne is the colonel of the Blues and Royals. The Duke of Kent is the colonel of the Scots Guards.
Juno will carry the rank of "Major" and lead the parade down The Mall. Her Majesty The Queen presented the formal classical name "Juno," Goddess of marriage and childbirth, to the Household Cavalry's first ever female Drum Horse who will pass off on the Trooping of the Colour parade. Juno is ten years old and has a dappled, dark bay coat and four large white socks. The Welsh Shire Horse mare, known previously by her stable name, Willa Rose, has been training for her role leading the Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry in Royal Procession for two years. Saturday will be her official graduation parade as the official Drum Horse of the Life Guards. She will be dressed in her full state ceremonial finery carrying the priceless Silver Kettle Drums of the Life Guards Regiment.
Prince William carrying out the colonel's review at TOTC rehearsals earlier this week
Prince William and Princess Catherine with their three children--Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Princess Anne and her husband Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh with their children, Lady Louise and James, Earl of Wessex, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall, and Peter Phillips. I'm looking forward to pageantry, fashion and glimpses of the royal children.
It is rumored that the Duke of Sussex and his wife were not invited, so that's that. Also, Prince Andrew will not take part in the ceremony.
The BBC will start their coverage of the event at 10:30 a.m., London time...which means that anglophiles like myself will be getting up before dawn! The Anglophiles in the U.S. will be able to watch the parade on the BBC or a live stream on You Tube.