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Published on Sep 8, 2009
BBC Television coverage of Trooping the Colour which takes place on Horse Guards Parade.
Crowds lining the route listen to music performed by Massed and Mounted Bands of around 400 musicians in total. Events at Buckingham Palace after the Queen's return include another march past by the entire Household Division, a 41-gun salute in the adjacent Green Park, and a flypast by the Royal Air Force. This is followed by the usual Changing of the Guard.
Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the Commonwealth and the British Army. It has been a tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, although the roots go back much earlier. On battlefields, a regiment's colours, or flags, were used as rallying points. Consequently, regiments would have their ensigns slowly march with their colours between the soldiers' ranks to enable soldiers to recognise their regiments' colours.
Since 1748 Trooping the Colour has also marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign. It is held in London annually on the second Saturday in June.
From the reign of King Edward VII, the Sovereign has taken the salute in person. It was Edward VII who moved Trooping the Colour to its June date, because of the vagaries of British weather.
However, in 1951 King George VI was to ill to attend the ceremony (he later had a lung removed in September 1951 due to lung cancer), so HRH The Princess Elizabeth (the heiress presumptive) took the King's place at the ceremony.
The King died eight months later and Britain then entered a new Elizabethian age.
This film footage is from the Archive Collection held by the Alexandra Palace Television Society.