Trooping the Colour: How to watch Queen's birthday parade

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Watch: Jubilee celebrations day by day

The Royal Family will be out in force on Thursday, 2 June for the annual Trooping the Colour parade.

The ceremony, which marks the Queen's official birthday, will kick off a four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend to celebrate her 70 years on the throne.

Royal watchers will have the chance to see the Windsors on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic.

Although mini versions of the ceremony were staged at Windsor Castle during lockdown, this year will see a full return to the traditional pomp and pageantry.

What happens at Trooping the Colour?

Trooping the Colour is a royal tradition dating back to 1748, during King George II's reign.

The military spectacle is held each June, in London's historic Horse Guards Parade, to mark the British monarch's official birthday.

File photo dated 8/6/2019 of Queen Elizabeth II is joined by members of the royal family, including the Duke of York, Duke and Duchess of Sussexon the balcony of Buckingham Place watch the flypast after the Trooping the Colour ceremony, as she celebrates her official birthday. The Queen has limited the Platinum Jubilee Trooping the Colour balcony appearance to working members of her family, with the Duke of York and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex omitted from the royal line up. Issue date: Friday May 6, 2022.
The last full-scale Trooping the Colour ceremony took place in 2019. (PA)

This year's ceremony will involve more than 1,500 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians.

The Royal Family will travel from Buckingham Palace to the parade ground in carriages, with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal on horseback.

Following the parade, some royals will appear on the palace balcony to watch an RAF fly-past and acknowledge the large crowds assembled on The Mall.

Why is it called Trooping the Colour?

The ceremony and its name originated from traditional preparations for battle.

Colours, or flags, were carried, or "trooped", down the ranks so they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.

Read more: Best photos of the Royal Family at Trooping the Colour

In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards Parade to "troop the colours". This evolved into the Trooping the Colour ceremony we know today.

Who will be attending?

Joining the Queen on the Buckingham Palace balcony will be:

  • The Prince of Wales

  • The Duchess of Cornwall

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

  • Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

  • The Earl and Countess of Wessex

  • Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn

  • The Princess Royal

  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

  • The Duke of Kent

  • Princess Alexandra

  • Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence

Why are Harry, Meghan and Andrew not attending?

The Queen has limited this year's balcony appearance to royals carrying out official public duties.

As a result, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York will not be in attendance.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the decision was made "after careful consideration".

Prince Harry, Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at Trooping The Colour, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Harry and Meghan will not be on the Palace balcony this year. (Doug Peters/EMPICS)

But the Queen made an exception for Anne's husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim, her two youngest grandchildren, and her Cambridge great-grandchildren George, Charlotte and Louis.

The move has been seen as a snub to Harry and Meghan, who quit the monarchy two years ago, and to Andrew, who was cast out of the institution over his civil sexual assault case.

Harry and Meghan are still expected to travel to the UK for the Jubilee festivities, along with their children Archie and Lili.

Read more: When is the Queen's Platinum Jubilee bank holiday?

It will be the first time they have brought their family to the UK since leaving for the US in 2020.

A spokeswoman for the couple said they were "excited and honoured" to attend the celebrations.

How to watch Trooping of the Colour 2022

Thursday's ceremony will be broadcast live from 8am on BBC One and on iPlayer.

Members of the public can watch the event from The Mall or on the edge of St James's Park overlooking Horse Guards Parade.