The tradition of Trooping the Colour originated in the 17th century, during the reign of Charles II. The Colours itself is the large brightly coloured flag, used as a regimental rallying point in battle, and it was imperative that every member of the battalion could recognise his own standard, so as to find his way back to his own squad. The ceremony was carried out by each regiment on a regular basis, and in London, the Foot Guards used to do this from 1755 onwards as part of their daily Guard Mounting on Horse Guards.

Since 1805, Trooping the Colour has been included as a part of the reigning monarchs Official Birthday celebrations. The Trooping is carried out by fully operational troops from the Household Division, including both Foot Guards and Household Cavalry, and is held on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. Over 1500 officers and men take part in the parade, along with two hundred horses, with over four hundred musicians from ten bands and corps of drums marching and playing as one. During the Trooping itself, the Royal Procession travels down from Buckingham Palace and upon arrival at Horse Guards, on the stroke of eleven o'clock, the Queen takes the Royal Salute. She then makes an inspection of the troops, whilst the regimental colour travels down the ranks. From there the Queen travels back to the palace at the head of the guards, and receives the salute again, as the RAF perform a flyby.

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