What is Trooping the Colour – and when does it take place?

Trooping the Colour ceremony

Trooping the Colour is one of London's foremost cultural events, taking place each summer and drawing huge crowds from around the world. While you might have heard the term, the exact history and origins of Trooping the Colour are lesser known by most – so here's our complete guide to ensure you're clued up before the big event...

What is Trooping the Colour?

Trooping the Colour is an annual event in London's Royal calendar, marking the official birthday of the British monarch. Selected to take place on a Saturday in early June each year, the event showcases the Household Division, and is attended by Her Majesty the Queen and various senior royal figures. In total, over 1400 military personnel will be taking part, alongside over 200 horses and a large band comprised of more than 400 musicians from the UK military.

What happens at Trooping the Colour?

Trooping the Colour is a truly impressive event, rich with tradition and ceremony. While enjoying London city hotel deals, this is a great way of connecting with a real British institution. The event starts with the Queen receiving a Royal salute, before she carries out her annual inspection of the Household Cavalry troops.

Next, the band begins to play a 'troop' – a special type of musical arrangement used at events like this one. The Queen takes a carriage ride from the Mall through Horseguards Parade, Whitehall and all the way to Buckingham Palace, and joins the rest of the Royal Family for a fly-past from the Royal Air Force, which they view from the palace balcony.

Brief History of Trooping the Colour

The event always commemorates the 'official' birthday of the monarch, regardless of their actual birthday – and celebrates with a display of British pomp and ceremony. The reason for selecting this time of year was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the anticipation of good weather – and while the exact origins of the event are a little unclear, it is thought to trace back to the ancient tradition of an army parading with a 'standard' or flag as a show of military might.

While this is not the purpose of the event today, it is still an intriguing piece of history to engage with during your visit to the Montcalm Royal London House, and attending Trooping the Colour gets you close to a tradition with roots which trace back hundreds of years.

How do I attend?

There's no fee to attend the Trooping the Colour event, though it does tend to be very busy indeed – so arriving early to get the best view is always advised. Some people choose to camp out overnight, but while you're staying at the Montcalm Royal London House, there's no need to go to these extremes! The best views are along the Mall and Whitehall, so aim for these spots and come prepared for lots of standing – the event only lasts a couple of hours, but it’s all outdoors, so you may wish to bring some refreshments and snacks and pack plenty of sunscreen!

When is Trooping the Colour?

This year's Trooping the Colour will take place on the 8th June 2019. Prior to this, the Colonel's Review, encompassing a full dress rehearsal of the event, will take place on 1st June 2019. The parade gets started at 10am, and finishes at 12:25pm.