The Queen Will Celebrate Trooping the Colour Without the Other Royals This Year

The Queen Will Celebrate Trooping the Colour Without the Other Royals This Year
The Queen Will Celebrate Trooping the Colour Without the Other Royals This Year
Caroline Picard, Amanda Garrity

From Good Housekeeping

For centuries, Trooping the Colour has been a grand spectacle loved by royals and spectators alike. The annual event, which celebrates the birthday of the Sovereign (Queen Elizabeth II), is typically a public event, where everyone catches a glimpse of the royal family — Prince William and Kate Middleton; Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — on the Buckingham Palace balcony. This year, however, the royals have been forced to put a pause on the typical festivities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual Trooping the Colour was initially canceled, but the royal family released a public statement days leading up to the occasion, revealing that "a military ceremony" will take place at Windsor Castle on June 13. Unlike year's past, they have asked the public to avoid the area, and watch from the comfort of their home.

Even though the tradition may look and feel different, the sentiment remains the same. Here's everything you need to know about this year's Trooping the Colour:

What is Trooping the Colour?

Trooping the Colour is a traditional ceremony celebrating the Sovereign's official birthday, but it originally started with a more practical purpose. Back in the 17th century, British troops had to learn the regimental flags or "Colours" in order to identify their units on the battlefield in case they got disoriented or separated. To do this, they would march or "troop" the flags along the lined-up ranks of soldiers as a form of practice.

Starting in 1748, this impressive display also became a way to recognize the official birthday of the Sovereign. In the case of Queen Elizabeth II, her actual birthday is on April 21, but she celebrates her "official" birthday on a Saturday in June with the Trooping the Colour. It's nothing like our birthday parties, though: Technically, she's "inspecting" her own personal troops, the Household Division.

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images
Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images

What happens at Trooping the Colour?

Keeping in mind that this year's ceremony will be much sweeter and intimate than ever before, it'll still be an event worth watching. Per the royal family's official statement, the order of events goes as follows:

  • The Queen will arrive in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle.

  • Upon her arrival, she'll be greeted with a Royal Salute from the soldiers from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, who are currently on guard at Windsor Castle.

  • A series of military drills will be carried out as the Band of the Household Division gives a performance.

  • The ceremony concludes with a Second Salute, and the Queen exits.

In usual circumstances, the ceremony includes 1,400 officers, 400 musicians, and 200 horses, which makes this year's event the smallest in recent history. That also means there won't be a military parade or fly-past, which many spectators have come to know and love.

How can I watch Trooping the Colour?

Trooping the Colour will air on BBC One at 10:30 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Saturday, June 13, which translates to 6:30 a.m. ET, 5:30 a.m. CT, 4:30 a.m. MT, or 3:30 a.m PT for anyone in the United States.

If your cable package doesn't include BBC One, you can head over to the BBC One site or download the BBC One app to view the ceremony. For the last few years, the event has been streamed live on BBC's YouTube page, but there hasn't been any confirmation if they plan to do the same this year.


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