Trooping the Colour: King Charles III’s grand birthday celebration

Trooping the Colour: King Charles III's grand birthday celebration.

Trooping the Colour: King Charles III's grand birthday celebration. Image: Loredana Sangiuliano /

Since the 17th century, the British monarch’s official birthday has been marked annually with an impressive military parade known as the Trooping the Colour.

Although King Charles was born on November 14, a tradition dating back to the 18th century dictates that his birthday is publicly celebrated in June.

This tradition arose due to Britain’s notoriously unpredictable weather.

In 1748, when King George II was born in winter, it was decided to celebrate his birth in the more favourable summer months, conducive to outdoor festivities.

Trooping the Colour

Trooping the Colour typically takes place on a weekend, when the Household Division, the oldest regiments of the British Army and known as the King’s bodyguards since the end of the English Civil War in 1660, performs at Horse Guards Parade in London.

Originally, “colours” referred to the flags of each regiment, distinguishing one from another.

Officers would conduct a “trooping” ceremony, marching before their troops to show the colours of their respective regiments.

At Trooping the Colour each year, a different regiment’s colour is featured.

Over 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians come together each June to showcase their military precision and horsemanship.

Health Concerns

Due to King Charles III’s health concerns, he participated in a horse-drawn carriage rather than riding on horseback, as is customary.

While Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday was celebrated on the second Saturday of June, King Charles’s will be observed on the third Saturday, specifically June 15.

The ceremony commenced at 10:30 AM with the King proceeding down The Mall from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade.

Upon arrival, he received a royal salute and a 41-gun salute from Green Park.

The King then inspected his troops, all adorned in ceremonial red tunics and bearskin hats. Military bands performed, followed by the regimental colour being processed among the soldiers.

Red Arrows

Afterwards, the King returned to Buckingham Palace and appeared on the iconic balcony to witness the fly-past by the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows.

The pilots, having flown from the east coast of England, soared over central London down The Mall, where members of the Royal Family observed.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, UK, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 20 years.