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Royal tradition to be revived after 30 years: King Charles III to join first birthday parade of his reign on horseback

King Charles III will be joining his first birthday parade as the sovereign on horseback on Saturday 17 June. This will be the first time a monarch has ridden at the parade since Elizabeth II in 1986, marking the return of a royal tradition.

The King is expected to ride Noble, a black mare that was also a gift in line with a tradition dating back to 1904 from the Mounties.

UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

Over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will come together for the occasion. The Prince of Wales carried out The Colonel’s Review for Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade last Saturday, during which some guardsmen fainted due to high temperature.

The Prince of Wales at Horse Guards Parade last Saturday

Today, the parade will move from Buckingham Palace down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, where the King will be greeted by a royal salute and will inspect the military on parade.

He will be joined by the Queen and members of the royal family to view the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards troop their colour.

The Sovereign’s Escort will be provided by the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals. After the parade, the King, accompanied by the Queen and other family members, will return to Buckingham Palace for the march-past and the flypast, which will conclude the day’s celebrations.

The new Sovereign’s Standard

On Thursday, The King, as Colonel-in-Chief, has presented the new Sovereign’s Standard to The Blues and Royals in the Quadrangle of Buckingham Palace.

The new Standard will be used on public parade for the first time at Trooping the Colour. Trooping the Colour’s managing director, Robin Wright, said: “The true honour we feel to be creating such historic and symbolic regimental standards and colours is absolutely incredible. It really is a business high for us all.

“Typically, regimental standards and colours are renewed every 10-12 years but following the passing of the late Queen, all military regalia requires updating with King Charles III’s insignia and the Tudor crown.

“As it takes three of our skilled people one year to create just four colours, there are thousands of hours of craftmanship from appliqué ornamental needlework to hand embroidery needed to complete the high standard of elaborate fabrics ready to present to the armed forces in the years ahead.”

What does “Trooping the Colour” mean?

In 1748, King George II combined his birthday celebration with the annual summer military march. This tradition has continued ever since, and now the reigning monarch has the option of having an official birthday in the summer.

King George II

The term “trooping the colour” refers to the practice of showing off the flags of the various regiments in the British Army. This was done in the 1700s so that all the troops would recognize their banners during battle.

The annual Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the sovereign for 275 years even though the actual birthday of King George II was in October. June was chosen for the official birthday celebration because of good weather conditions.

The actual birthday of King Charles III is also different – he celebrates his birthday privately on 14 November, but 17 June marks his “official” birthday as the sovereign, celebrated with a parade.

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