The Household division are being put through their paces by the Garrison Sergeant Major, WO1 Vern Stokes this week during another rehearsal for the Queen’s Birthday Parade on Horseguards Parade Square.
More than 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will come together in the traditional Parade to mark The Queen’s official birthday, usually held on the second Saturday in June.
The Queen’s Birthday Parade in London this year will signify the start of celebrations for Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee weekend in June.
The impressive display of pageantry will take place on Thursday 2 June by troops from the Household Division, on the iconic Horse Guards Parade.
Over 1200 officers and soldiers will be on parade, together with musicians from the Massed Bands of the Household Division and Corps of Drums, and hundreds of horses.
This year the Irish Guards will Troop their Colour through the ranks, following a musical ‘troop’ performed on parade by the Massed Bands of the Household Division. The Colour is a ceremonial flag richly embroidered with battle honours and emblems sacred to the Regiment. The act is a tradition that dates back millennia, allowing each soldier to familiarise themselves with the symbols and colours of their commander before they follow them into battle. The birthday parade represents, through the Guardsmen and Musicians on parade, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in essence, displaying the Army’s allegiance to the Monarch and the Nation in unified synchronicity, discipline and perfect pageantry.
The entire parade route will extend from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, who will also be on parade, will then fire a 41 Gun salute from The Green Park.
In the weeks building up to the birthday parade, the spectacular military event is rehearsed rigorously and delivered in full, to time, under the careful and exacting eyes of the Brigade Major and the Garrison Sergeant Major of the Household Division to ensure perfection on the day. The Troop is one of the most physically and mentally demanding duties a soldier can perform outside of frontline operations, but taking part is a huge honour all will treasure for the rest of their lives.
Once the standard of drill and turnout is deemed fit for Her Majesty, the parade is inspected first by the Major General Commanding the Household Division, and then by the Colonel of the Regiment whose Colour is being Trooped. These inspections, known as Reviews, are also open to the public as ticketed events and provide a spectacular prelude to a Summer of ceremonial.
The first Review, which is inspected by Major General Chris Ghika CBE, will take place on Saturday 21 May.
The second Trooping the Colour Review, which is reviewed by The Colonel of the Regiment, will take place on Saturday 28 May. The Colonel of the Regiment of the Irish Guards is HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
Source: British Army / MOD
Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd
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