Colonel’s review, is the second dress rehearsal before the actual ‘Trooping of the Colour’ ceremony. The Trooping of the Colour is also known as the Queen’s birthday parade. This year The Coldstream Guards Colour will be trooped at the parade. There are two dress rehearsals and both are full dress rehearsals, without the Royal family and are held on the two Saturdays before the actual ceremony.
At the first rehearsal, known as the Major General’s review, which was held last Saturday, two of the guards fainted and had to be stretchered off.
The tradition started in the 17 century during Charles II reign. The soldiers of different units wore different uniform colours and insignia. The regimental flags of the British army displayed the uniform colours and insignia worn by the soldiers. The term ‘Colours’ were used to describe the Regimental flags. The Regiment’s Colours were to provide a rallying point on the battlefield. It made it easy for the different troops to identify their unit, before commencement of the battle. In order for the troops to do this, it was necessary for the Colours to be displayed regularly, so that they could easily recognise their unit colour. The troops would line up and young officers would march in between the ranks with the Colours held high. The Guards are the oldest regiments of the British army and are the Sovereign’s personal bodyguards.
Although the custom dates back to the time of Charles II, it was George III, who declared that it should take place to mark the King’s birthday. It has been held regularly since then apart from during the two world wars when it was interrupted.
The Queen’s actual birthday is on April 21, but the tradition is to celebrate it during the Summer. This year about 1400 officers and man, 200 horses and 400 musicians from 10 bands are expected to take part. The parade starts from Buckingham palace and they will go along the Mall to the Horse Guards parade in Whitehall and back.
Yesterday , my plan was to get to the city early to get a good vantage point. The ceremony starts at ten and I was hoping to get there by nine. We only got to the Horse Guards road just after ten. I thought we might have trouble getting a good view point. The policeman pointed us in the right direction and we got quite good views of the parade from the corner where we stood on Horse Guards road. You don’t need to pay to watch the ceremony, however there are ticketed seats to watch it from the seated stands. The tickets are allocated by public ballot and are priced depending on the event. If you are ever in London during June, this is a must see event. For the Trooping of the Colour ceremony, the Queen will be attending to take the salute. The event ends with the Queen joining her family on the palace balcony for a fly past by the Royal Air Force.