Trooping the Colour to go ahead with public rehearsals later this month

The King’s Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will go ahead despite the upcoming General Election, the Army has confirmed.

The celebration, which traditionally involves the royal family gathering on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after a display of pomp and military pageantry, are set to take place on June 15.

It is unclear whether the Princess of Wales, who is undergoing chemotherapy after a cancer diagnosis, will attend.

The King at Trooping the Colour
The King during the Trooping the Colour ceremony last year (Aaron Chown/PA)

The royal family has postponed engagements “which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign” after Rishi Sunak last week called a surprise summer General Election for July 4, but have continued with garden parties at Buckingham Palace and the King and Queen’s D-Day 80th anniversary appearances in Portsmouth and Normandy in June are expected to go ahead as scheduled.

On Tuesday, the British Army announced that almost a thousand soldiers and around 240 horses from the Household Division will perform a “khaki rehearsal” of the parade in London on Thursday.

The rehearsal will take place on Horse Guards Parade in front of an audience of more than 1,000 people as a test for soldiers and horses who have yet to rehearse publicly.

Lieutenant Colonel James Shaw, the Brigade Major of the Household Division, will confirm the troops are of the required standard before they perform at The Major General’s Review on Saturday, The Colonel’s Review on June 8 and Trooping the Colour on June 15.

The Army said the Number 9 Company, Irish Guards, has been chosen to troop their colour, which means the regiment will march its ceremonial flag through the ranks at the King’s official birthday event.

The Band of the Irish Guards with the Pipes and Drums will march the troops onto the parade ground, led by regimental mascot Turlough Mor, an Irish Wolfhound also known as Seamus.

Irish Guardsman with mascot
An Irish Guardsmen standing with their mascot Seamus (Yui Mok/PA)

The music is set to have a “distinctly Irish theme”, including Celtic folk tunes and new music composed for the parade.

The annual Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign for more than 260 years.

Charles marked his first Trooping as King last year, riding onto Horse Guards in Whitehall as the nation’s head of state six weeks after his coronation.

During the celebrations, Charles and Camilla waved from the Buckingham Palace balcony as thousands of well-wishers in The Mall sang the National Anthem and gave three cheers.

The King and Queen were surrounded in 2023 by the family’s core group of working royals, including the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children.

Also on the balcony were the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.