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The Sovereign's Birthday Parade
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The Sovereign's Birthday ParadeThe Birthday Parade usually includes six Guards of the Foot Guards, each comprising 3 Officers and 70 other ranks. Nos. 1 to 5 Guards form up on the west side of Horse Guards Parade facing Horse Guards Archway, while No. 6 Guard forms up at right angles to the other five. The Massed Bands, Pipes and Drums of the Household Division form up in front of the garden of No. 10 Downing Street. The Queen's Colour is then posted in front of No. 6 Guard. The parade is dressed and, when the line is formed, the officers fall in.

At 11 a.m. The Queen arrives from Buckingham Palace, attended by the Royal Procession and escorted by the Sovereign's Escort of the Household Cavalry. As Her Majesty arrives at the Saluting Base, she is received with a Royal Salute, the Bands playing the National anthem.

The Queen inspects the parade, and then returns to the Saluting Base, while the Guards stand at ease.

The parade is called to attention and is given the command 'Troop'. The Massed Bands, Pipes and Drums advance in slow time towards the Colour, then return to their original position in quick time, one Drummer leaving and marching towards the Escort for the Colour.

The Escort now marches to the centre of the parade ground and halts facing the Colour. The entire parade comes to attention and the Colour is handed over to the Ensign.

When the Escort presents arms to receive the Colour, the four NCOs at the flanks turn outwards and port arms, symbolically barring access to the Colour from all directions.

The Colour is now trooped from left to right down the entire line of Guards. As the Escort reaches its original position, it faces to the front in line with the other Guards.

The Guards now form up and march past Her Majesty, first in slow and then in quick time. The Colour is brought to the front of the Escort and is lowered in Salute as the Ensign passes The Queen. When each Guard reaches its original position, it marks time until the whole line is re-formed, at which point the music reaches a crescendo and the whole line is ordered to halt.

It is now the turn of the Household Cavalry to pay their respects to The Queen. As the Foot Guards present arms, each Division rides past Her Majesty, first at the walk and then at the trot, the Standard being dipped as it passes The Queen. The final order is given, 'Royal Salute - Present Arms', and the National Anthem is played.

The six Guards re-form in Divisions for the march to Buckingham Palace, the leading Division being the St James's Palace detachment and the rear Division the Buckingham Palace detachment of The Queen's Guard for the day. Her Majesty takes up position at the head of The Queen's Guard.

At Buckingham Palace the Old Guard has already formed up for the normal Guard Mounting ceremony. Her Majesty proceeds to the Centre Gate. The two detachments of The Queen's Guard form up opposite the Old Guard. The remaining Foot Guards and, finally, the Sovereign's Escort then march past Her Majesty. The Queen is then driven into the Palace, passing between the Old and New (or Queen's) Guards.


The Sovereign's Birthday Parade

Silver Stick, Officer commanding Household Cavalry.


The Sovereign's Birthday Parade

The Escort for the Colour trooping the Colour.


The Sovereign's Birthday Parade

The Drummer uncasing the Colour. The Colour will later be trooped through the ranks.


The Sovereign's Birthday Parade

On State occasions the Drum Majors of the Foot Guards wear State Dress. The livery is similar to that of the Household Cavalry, but with white gaiters and a gold-fringed crimson apron.


The Sovereign's Birthday Parade

The Blues and Royals ride past Her Majesty The Queen.

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