The tradition of the Trooping of the Colors ceremony, which is performed by the regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies, has occurred at least since the reign of Charles II in the 17th century. However, the actual roots may go back even further. Since 1748, this ceremony has also marked the official birthday of the British monarch. The Queen, escorted by the Household Cavalry, travels from Buckingham Palace, down The Mall (next to St. James park), to the Horse Guards Parade grounds. For 36 years, Queen Elizabeth II rode side-saddle on her horse dressed in the uniform of the regiment being trooped. However, since 1987, she has been arriving by carriage. After receiving the Royal Salute, the Queen inspects her Household Cavalry Division, The King's Troops, and The Royal Horse Artillery. This inspection involves 1100 officers and soldiers with 200 horses and 200 musicians from six bands. Each year, one of the regiments is selected to officially Troop the Colors, following which the entire Household Division march past the Queen. This is one of the most amazing spectacles to watch. We were awed by the beauty and immensity of this event. Just when we thought everyone had assembled, along came the Royal Horse Artillery pulling ten caissons and canons and lined up for inspection. In all of our travels so far, we have not seen such pomp and circumstance surrounding a monarch. The British do a first class job. One of the more interesting, and surprising, portions of this event occurred right in front of us. As the Horse Cavalry was performing its trot around the parade grounds, one of the horses apparently became startled and fell down, throwing off its rider. The riderless horse immediately jumped back up and rejoined the parade. Meanwhile, the rider is helped up by ground crew and escorted to the medics for evaluation. Following this part of the ceremony, the Queen returned to Buckingham Palace for further reviewing of the parading troops. At this point, the Queens receives a 41-gun salute and a fly over by the Royal Air Force.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.