Trooping the Colour 2022: How is the Queen celebrating her platinum jubilee and who will join?

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The Queen is the longest-reigning monarch in British history (Getty Images)
The Queen is the longest-reigning monarch in British history (Getty Images)

On Thursday 2 June, the Queen will celebrate her “official” birthday with a military parade.

The annual celebration, known as Trooping the Colour, is held on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace.

The event will also include an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace from members of the royal family.

Last week, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen has decided to limit the balcony line-up to working members of the royal family, meaning that the Duke of York and Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not make an appearance.

The monarch, who is celebrating 70 years on the throne, will be joined by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will also be present.

What is the Queen’s ‘official’ birthday?

Like every monarch before her since 1748, the Queen has two birthdays, which can be a source of confusion.

The tradition dates to the reign of King George II, whose birthday fell in late Autumn.

As the weather at that time of year wasn’t suitable for a large, public celebration, the King declared a second “official” birthday which would be celebrated in combination with the Trooping the Colour parade in summer.

The tradition has been held up since, with this year’s parade marking the Queen’s “official” birthday celebration.

The Queen’s actual date of birth is 21 April 1926. She was delivered at 2.40am by Caesarean section, at her maternal grandparents’ house in Mayfair.

Her “official” birthday does not have a set date and usually takes place on the second Saturday of June.

This year the event will take place on Thursday 2 June, marking the beginning of a four-day celebration to mark her platinum jubilee.

What is Trooping the Colour?

Before being combined with the monarch’s birthday celebrations, Trooping the Colour was a predominantly military affair.

During the parade, soldiers, musicians and horses make their way down The Mall in London towards Buckingham Palace.

The soldiers who take part in the march consist of fully trained, operational troops from the Household Division, a group of seven army regiments.

The streets are typically filled with spectators as the parade travels towards Buckingham Palace, including members of the royal family in carriages.

The royal family later appears on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, where they watch a Royal Air Forces flypast.

Who will attend the Queen’s ‘official’ birthday celebrations?

The Queen’s “official” birthday celebrations will be attended by all working members of the royal family and their children.

The Buckingham Palace has confirmed that 17 members of the family will join the Queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

“After careful consideration, the Queen has decided this year’s traditional Trooping the Colour balcony appearance on Thursday 2nd June will be limited to Her Majesty and those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the Queen,” a spokesperson for the Palace said.

The monarch will be joined by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will also be present.

Also set to appear for the historic occasion will be Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis and the Wessexes’ children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

How many military personnel will there be?

The Trooping the Colour ceremony will see more than 1450 officers and soldiers from the Household Division and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, 40 musicians from the Massed Bands and around 240 horses make their way down The Mall in London towards Buckingham Palace.

The parade will follow a route from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again.

What will happen on the day?

During the ceremony, the Queen is traditionally greeted by a Royal Salute and carries out an inspection of the troops.

It has been reported that the monarch will not take the salute during this year’s ceremony for the first time in her 70 year reign.

Prince Charles, Prince William and Princess Anne will reportedly take the salute instead and will ride on the parade as colonels of the Welsh Guards, the Irish Guards and the Blues and Royals.

Following the display of pageantry, the Queen joins other members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a flypast by the Royal Air Force.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that only working members of the royal family will join the monarch, which means that Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Prince Andrew will not appear in the line-up.

The Principal beacon, involving The Tree of Trees (a 21-metre high ‘tree’ constructed of 350 smaller trees), will also be lit up in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace at 9pm.

While beacons are usually set on fire to mark royal jubilees, the special ceremony on the evening of Thursday 2 June will mark a fresh take on the historic tradition.

The sculpture, along with a lighting installation, will act as the Principal beacon as a reflection of the royal family’s commitment to environmental causes.

The Tree of Trees sculpture is made up of British native trees, which have been arranged in aluminium pots embossed with the Queen’s cypher.

A Palace spokesperson said: “This will take the form a lighting installation with the Queen’s Green Canopy Tree of Trees sculpture and projections onto the front of Buckingham Palace.

“This innovative new way of taking part in the beacon lighting will reflect the royal family’s long history of championing environmental causes.”

How can I watch the ceremony?

The Household Division has advised members of the public who wish to watch the ceremony to stand on The Mall or on the edge of St James’ Park overlooking Horse Guards from 9 AM.

The event will begin at 10 AM and the flypast will happen at 1 PM.

The parade is also being broadcast live by the BBC.