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London

Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade

Every June, The Queen’s official birthday is celebrated through Trooping the Colour (TTC). This year’s Trooping the Colour falls on Saturday, 9 June 2018 and will be trooped by the Colour of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. Founded in 1650, the Coldstream Guards are the ones with red plumes on the right of the bearskin. My friends and I had the privilege of attending TTC at Horse Guards Parade last year. The Colour was trooped by the 1st Battallion Irish Guards with green plumes. It was a terribly hot day (with very little breeze) but we enjoyed the ceremony and experience. Below are some tips on how to attend and prepare for TTC. If you wish to watch it on The Mall, you can read my 2016 post.

How to Get Tickets

All applicants must apply by ballot. There are two ways:

  • General: Apply through the Household Division / Army for seated or standing tickets. The deadline is in January or February (March for standing tickets). You can apply for up to 4 tickets.
  • For Commonwealth citizens: Apply through the High Commission (I can only speak for the Canadian High Commission so please check with your own embassy) before the deadline. If I remember correctly, the deadline is usually after the Household Division deadline (possibly around February / March). Priority is given to Canadians (residents in and visitors to the UK) who’ve never attended before but in my experience, interested Canadians have a very good chance of attending every royal event as most Canadians are either uninterested or unaware of the privilege. You can apply for two tickets (up to four if immediate family) and the other attendees don’t have to be Canadians. I think this is new because I applied for three last year and my two guests were not family.

Cost of the Tickets

  • HD: It’s £35 for seated tickets or £2 for standing tickets.
  • HC: £37+ (it will cost a bit more as you’ll need to pay by bank order and cannot pay by credit card or cash. The cheapest option is to go through the Post.)

How To Get There

I chose to get off at Charing Cross station and took the exit closest to Trafalgar Square.

Where will I be sitting?

The Canadian High Commission has seats in front of the Admiralty Extension. There is no shade here but you’ll be the ‘first’ to see The Queen and senior royal members enter.

How long is it?

There ceremony begins at 10am and fly-past is at 1pm. As soon as the ceremony is over around 12:25-30pm, you’ll have some time to take photos and walk towards Buckingham Palace with the rest of the lucky ticket holders. You’ll get to stand in front of the palace gates for a prime viewing spot of the Royal Family on the balcony.

Arrival of the Royal Family

Trooping the Colour

Royal Family on the Balcony

Fly-Past

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What to Wear

  • Wear a hat! It’s not compulsory but you’ll be grateful when your poor head’s been protected from the stinging rays. If it’s going to rain, find something waterproof.
  • Dress nicely. It doesn’t have to be the most formal attire you have but it needs to be something proper. No jeans allowed.
  • Comfortable shoes. Yes, you may be sitting most of the time, but when you leave to go down The Mall to see The Queen and her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, you’ll be grateful for something stable and comfortable.
Walking towards Buckingham Palace

Tips

  • Don’t wear a large view-blocking hat. It might be great for keeping the sun out but you may be blocking someone’s view.
  • Use the lavatory before the event begins. Do this at home and/or at Horse Guards Parade.
  • Eat a full breakfast because the event ends after 1:15-30pm.
  • Be early or punctual. When I arrived around 9am, I was surprised to find that there was a long queue for ticket holders. Part of the reason is that everyone needs to go through security. We still made it in and were seated before 10am.
  • Bring extra batteries for your phone and/or camera.
  • Bring a good camera, if you have one. You can take photos and film.
  • Bring a pair of binoculars to zoom in!

Have a wonderful time!

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