For this week’s #FBF, I’m remembering the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London in 2007. It was my first weekend after arriving for my summer studying abroad and a bunch of my newest friends and I took the tube to Buckingham Palace to watch the festivities. I had no idea what would be happening, but I heard it was the Queen’s birthday celebration.
So, technically, the Queen’s birthday is on April 21st, but the Trooping the Colour became the official birthday celebration of the British sovereign in 1748. The celebration is in June because of the weather. The tradition began when George II was King and his birthday was in November, so he moved his birthday celebration to the summer. The Queen has attended every year since she ascended the throne, except 1955 due to a railway strike.
If I recall correctly, we arrived a few hours early and got a spot up close before the crowds really grew (as close as you could get at least, because as I’m sure you could imagine, security was tight there).
The procession eventually began and the Household Calvary came in on horses for traditional military pomp and circumstance as the Royal Family watched from the balcony at Buckingham Palace.
Eventually the Queen arrived in her carriage and we all cheered. (Now I think I’d cheer: Yay, take us back! We can’t govern ourselves!) She received her 21 gun salute, etc.
It was an odd thing to be an American, brand new to London, and cheering for the Queen As Americans, weren’t we supposed to hate the idea of this? Probably, but the Queen seemed chill as she waved at the crowd in her bright lime green skirt suit. (She knew how to stand out!) She stood first on a platform in front of Buckingham Palace and waved, inspected the troops, and then joined her family on the balcony and waved some more.
The last part of this British tradition was the actual Trooping the Colour. Fighter jets flew overhead leaving behind the colors of the Union Jack flag – red, white, and blue. More cheers and applause ensued and soon enough the entire celebration was over.
Overall, it was a lovely way to welcome the American students to their summers in England. Just kidding. But really, it was very cool to see the Royal Family in person so soon after arriving.
The Trooping the Colour takes place each year on the second Saturday in June.