What Is Trooping The Colour And Why Is It Held To Celebrate The Queen’s Birthday?

Every year, Trooping the Colour is held in June to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's birthday.

Queen Elizabeth II during Trooping The Colour ceremony at The Royal Horseguards on June 9, 2018 in London, England
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Every year, Trooping the Colour is held in June to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's birthday.

Royal watchers are getting excited about the annual Trooping the Colour on June 8. This event serves to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. But, what is the history of this event, and why is it not held on the Queen’s actual birthday?

Every year, early in June, when the weather is much better than on the Queen’s actual birthday of April 21 and to maintain uniformity from year to year, Trooping the Colour is performed in celebration of the monarch’s birthday. According to the official royal website, this royal tradition has been held for over 260 years.

Every year, Trooping the Colour involves a massive parade that includes soldiers, horses, and musicians. The event begins with the Queen’s arrival at the Horse Guard’s Parade in Whitehall. Previously, the Queen would attend on horseback. However, in recent years, Queen Elizabeth now attends Trooping the Colour by carriage.

After a performance by the military bands, “the escorted Regimental Colour, or flag, is processed down the ranks of soldiers,” according to the royal website. Foot guards then march past the Queen and she returns via horseback — or carriage — at the head of the soldiers before giving a salute at the Palace.

Afterward, Queen Elizabeth and close family members head to the balcony at Buckingham Palace in order to observe a fly-past by the Royal Air Force and a 41-gun salute, which concludes Trooping the Colour.

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The spectacle is a great occasion for avid royal fans who get to gather and watch the fanfare as well as to ogle over what the royals wear to the occasion. This year is particularly exciting because Prince Louis will make his first appearance at Trooping of the Colour, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. However, the tradition behind the event is much more detailed than first meets the eye.

According to Good Housekeeping, Trooping the Colour had a much more practical purpose that was founded in the 17th century. Initially, British soldiers had to recognize the regimental flags or “Colours.” This was so that they could easily “identify their units on the battlefield in case they got disoriented or separated.” In order to remember these Colours, the soldiers would routinely march or “troop” the flags “along the lined-up ranks.” Hence the term Trooping the Colours was born.

In 1748 it also became a way in which to celebrate the birthday of the current Sovereign, a tradition that has extended through to the present day. It is on this day that the monarch would inspect their own personal troops known as the Household Division.