<p>Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth at HM Naval Base ahead of the ship’s maiden deployment in May</p>

Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth at HM Naval Base ahead of the ship’s maiden deployment in May

Trooping the Colour: How is the Queen celebrating her ‘official’ birthday and who will join her?

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the celebrations

Saman Javed
Saturday 12 June 2021 08:17

On Saturday 12 June, the Queen will celebrate her “official” birthday with a military parade at Windsor Castle.

This year’s celebrations will divert from tradition, as the annual ceremony, known as Trooping the Colour, is usually held on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace.

In keeping with coronavirus restrictions, the number of military personnel taking part in the birthday parade will be scaled back. Aside from the Queen’s confirmed plus one, it is unclear which members of the royal family will attend.

Here’s everything you need to know about the celebration ahead of the event.

What is the Queen’s “official” birthday?

Like every monarch before her since 1748, the Queen has two birthdays, which can be a source of confusion.

The tradition dates to the reign of King George II, whose birthday fell in late Autumn.

As the weather at that time of year wasn’t suitable for a large, public celebration, the King declared a second “official” birthday which would be celebrated in combination with the Trooping the Colour parade in summer.

The tradition has been held up since, with this year marking the Queen’s “official” birthday celebration.

The Queen’s actual date of birth is 21 April 1926. She was delivered at 2.40am by Caesarean section, at her maternal grandparents’ house in Mayfair.

Her “official” birthday does not have a set date and usually takes place on the second Saturday of June.

What is Trooping the Colour?

Before being combined with the monarch’s birthday celebrations, Trooping the Colour was a predominantly military affair.

During the parade, soldiers, musicians and horses make their way down The Mall in London towards Buckingham Palace.

The soldiers who take part in the march consist of fully trained, operational troops from the Household Division, a group of seven army regiments.

The streets are typically filled with spectators as the parade travels towards Buckingham Palace, including members of the royal family in carriages.

The royal family later appears on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, where they watch an RAF flypast.

On 4 June, Buckingham Palace announced that this year’s Trooping the Colour will take place at Windsor Castle.

Who will attend the Queen’s “official” birthday celebrations?

The Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, will join her for the celebration in place of her late husband, Prince Philip.

The duke has previously accompanied the Queen during the parade in 2013 when Philip was unable to attend because he was recovering from surgery.

Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to join the celebrations, however, Buckingham Palace has not confirmed whether they will.

How many military personnel will there be?

The traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony sees more than 1,400 soldiers, 400 musicians and 200 horses make their way down The Mall in London towards Buckingham Palace.

Last year, the ceremony was significantly scaled back, with a “small brief military ceremony at Windsor Castle”, due to coronavirus restrictions.

Despite the easing of restrictions this year, the ceremony will still go ahead at Windsor Castle.

The parade, which is being held by the Household Division, will be led by the Queen’s foot guards.

They will be joined by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

What will happen on the day?

On Saturday 12 June, Scots Guards will troop through the Quadrangle of the royal residence, with the Duke of Kent accompanying the Queen.

As the Queen and Prince Edward arrive, they will be greeted by a royal salute and the national anthem will play.

Music will be played by a massed band of the Household Division, as military personnel troop through the grounds. The parade will conclude with a second salute.

To mark the Queen’s official birthday, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will also fire a 41 gun royal salute from the East Lawn at Windsor Castle.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments