The Trooping of the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British Monarch for over 260 years. This tradition was started by King George II in 1748. The King was born in November, and felt it would be too cold at that time of year to hold his annual birthday parade, therefore he combined his birthday celebration with an annual spring military parade known as Trooping the Colour, in which regiments displayed their flags or "colours" so soldiers would be familiar with them.
The tradition has continued to this day. The Queen's real birthday is on April 21, but she decided to continue with the tradition of celebrating in June otherwise known as The Queen's Birthday Parade, when the Queen inspects soldiers from the Household Division. It takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall.
The Trooping the Colour involves over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare to mark The Queen's official birthday. Streets are lined with crowds waving flags as the parade moves from Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Horse Guard's Parade, alongside members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages. The display closes with an RAF fly-past, watched by members of the Royal Family from Buckingham Palace balcony.
The six main events of the day are as follows:
1. The streets are lined with crowds waving British flags as the parade moves from Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Horse Guard's Parade, alongside Members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages. The Queen now travels with The Duke of Edinburgh in a carriage.
2. When the Queen arrives at Horse Guard's Parade in Whitehall, she is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops, who are fully trained and operational soldiers wearing the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats.
3. After the military bands have performed, the escorted Regimental Colour, or flag, is processed down the ranks of soldiers. Over one hundred words of command are used by the Officer in Command of the Parade to direct the several hundred soldiers.
4. Once the Foot Guards have marched past The Queen, she returns in her carriage back to Buckingham Palace at the head of the soldiers, before taking the salute again at the Palace from a dais.
5. Her Majesty is then joined by other Members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past by the Royal Air Force. A 41-gun salute is also fired in Green Park to mark the occasion.
6. The Royal family then have a private lunch to finish of the official celebration of Her Majesty's official Birthday.