Travels with Victoria: Trooping the Colour 2011

Trooping the Colour is held each June in celebration of the Queen’s birthday (her actual birthday is April 21) and is a well-loved pageant.  On Saturday, June 11, 2011, I could not resist going to the Mall to watch the procession of troops, bands, cavalry and royal carriages from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards and back.

First to patrol the processional route were the police who stood every few yards with their automatic machine guns near the red-coated guards.  The difference is that the soldiers, in their bearskin hats, had to remain at attention, or parade rest, while the police were far more casual.

Keeping an eye out for trouble
Today’s ceremony Trooping the Colour has evolved from the ancient practice of assembling the soldiers before the battle and displaying the flag around which they are to rally in the midst of noise, confusion, smoke, flying shot and cannonballs in the battlefield. Each Trooping of the Colour displays for the Queen and assembled guests, as well as the massed military, a particular flag. On June 11, 2011, the colour trooped was the battle flag of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards.

Leading the march down the Mall were the Irish Guards, here with their Irish Wolfhound mascot ahead of the troops.
First of many bands.

The Irish Guards can be identified by the blue plumes on their hats and by the arrangement of buttons on their tunics.

Band of the Irish Guards


The Coldstream Guards

Band of the Scots Guards
In this carriage: the Duchess of Cornwall in the big white hat, almost blocking the view of the
Duchess of Cambridge; across from them are Prince Harry, on the left and the Duke of York.
Above, a photo of the Duchess of Cambridge from the British Royals website.
In addition to Foot Guards, the Household Cavalry was well represented; Above, members of the Life Guards.

I love the drummers in the mounted bands; the horse’s reins are attached to the stirrups so the rider can beat the time. See also the photo below.

The mounted band of the Household Cavalry.

The Queen and Prince Philip, in his uniform as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, ride in the carriage.

Behind the Queen’s Carriage are, l-r, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, in the uniform of Colonel of the Irish Guards; Prince Charles, Colonel of  the Welsh guards; the Duke of Kent, Colonel of the Scots Guards; and Anne, Princess Royal, Colonel of the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals.

Here’s a closer shot of the Queen’s escort  from the Daily Mail.

Finally, the Blues and Royals, in their blue tunics with red plumes, part of the Household Cavalry.

It was a magnificent parade; All the military and the Royals, along with hundreds of invited guests, were  massed at Horse Guards Parade where the ceremony went on for just over an hour.  While they were going through their paces, I left the crowd lining the Mall, most of whom were waiting for the return parade back to Buckingham Palace.  But —  not having a lot of Saturdays to spend in London — I decided not to wait but to explore further.  Next, Marlborough House.

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