"What the heck is Trooping the Colour?"
Good question. Let me tell you. It actually dates back to 1748 and traditionally marks the Sovereign's birthday.
"But Courtenay, Her Majesty's birthday is April 21st!"
Yes, but it is a long standing tradition to celebrate the Queen's birthday publicly on a day in the summer when good weather is more likely.
"Is it the same day every year?"
Don't be ridiculous. This year, it was the first Saturday in June, but it changes from year to year.
"I still don't get it. What is it?"
It's known as the Queen's birthday parade. It is carried out by fully operational troops from the Household Division (yes, I had to look this up). This includes Foot Guards and Household Cavalry.
The main event takes place on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. It is watched by members of the Royal Family, invited guests, and lucky members of the public (through a lottery system similar to the Olympics).
Those (like ourselves) who weren't lucky enough to get their hands on a pair of tickets, can line up along the Mall to see what they can see....and that is what we did.
Some get creative....clearly they've done this before.
Others get cosy....these two don't know each other. I promise.
During the Ceremony, the Queen is greeted by a Royal Salute, and carries out an inspection of the troops.
Below you can see her in the background, in her carriage inspecting the troops.
With very little warning, along came a carriage that made my day. I honestly don't know who I was happier to see.
I got to see 'them' on the way there...and on the way back (Bonus!).
When the inspection and performance (military bands etc) are finished, Liz heads back to the Palace in a horse drawn Carriage.
Back at the Palace, the family enjoys canapes (or so we suspect) while the Air Force get themselves ready, and we organise ourselves around the Palace gate. This allowed my heart rate to settle itself, which was key for what was about to take place.
An hour or so after arriving back at the palace, the entire family (minus Phillip who was in hospital) join Her Majesty on the Balcony for a Fly-Past by the Royal Air Force (I will explain at the bottom just exactly how we lucked out to get as close as we did).
Something tells me, something exciting is about to happen...
Drum Roll.....................and here they are.
And my favourite shot of the day (below). I still can't believe I took this. What is great is that I keep seeing similar photos in the British Media. Yes, I'm very pleased with myself.
And Princess Eugenie with her sister, Princess Beatrice. Did you know that Beatrice went to Goldsmiths also?
Prince Edward with his wife Sophie Countess of Wessex, and their children, Lady Louise,
and James, Viscount Severn. On the Left is Princess Michael of Kent.
Camilla, Charles, and the Birthday girl.
So how did we manage this? I actually owe this entire experience to Jeremy, N's father. He is a wealth of knowledge when it comes down to events such as this one. He told us to arrive around 10am and position ourselves along the Mall (where the Mall connects with the road down to Horse Guards Parade). By standing here, you will see the entire procession march towards Whitehall, and back (along with the Royal Family). This also places you in the perfect spot, when they take the gates down to file in line behind the police, who lead you in a very orderly fashion all the way down to the Palace gates.
As long as you time it well and are at the front of the pack, you will be in the perfect spot to get a front row position along the fence for the fly-past.
This is what it looked like as we waited behind the police line to move forward down the Mall.
Did you have a great weekend? I am still on a high after my day with the Royals. Yesterday we spent the day at Ham Polo Club. I'll tell you about it later this week.
Enjoy your Monday.
I will leave you with a shot of the Duke and Duchess. She looks great doesn't she?