Trooping the Colour
On the death of her father Elizabeth II became Colonel-in-Chief of all the Guards Regiments and Corps of Royal Engineers, and Captain-General of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and the Honourable Artillery Company. As the sovereign, she is also the head of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force.
Few ceremonies, however, bring home her close relationship to the Armed Forces so vividly as Trooping the Colour, also known as the Sovereign's Birthday Parade.
This annual event, held every June, dates back to 1755. In a display of perfectly-honed ceremonial it allows the entire Household Division, composed of the Household Cavalry and five regiments of the Guards Division, to salute the sovereign on the occasion of her official birthday.
For 36 years, from 1949, she appeared, mounted sidesaddle, in the scarlet tunic of the regiment of Guards whose colour was being trooped, a blue riding skirt, riding boots, and a tricorn hat surmounted by the relevant regimental plume. Since 1987 she has attended the ceremony in a carriage.
The parade route extends from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again. At 11am the Royal Procession arrives and the Queen takes the Royal Salute. The parade begins with the Inspection, the Queen driving slowly down the ranks of all eight Guards and then past the Household Cavalry.
See also Seasonal listing for Trooping the Colour