What Does Trooping The Color Mean? All About King Charles' Birthday Celebration As Kate Middleton Confirms Attendance

King Charles is set to take part in the official birthday celebrations for the British Monarch for the second time in his reign. The royal tradition of Trooping the Color will take place on June 15.

Published on Jun 15, 2024  |  11:11 PM IST |  58.5K
King Charles III and Kate Middleton (Getty Images)
King Charles III and Kate Middleton (Getty Images)

King Charles is set to take part in the official birthday celebrations for the British Monarch for the second time in his reign. The royal tradition of Trooping the Color will take place on June 15 and will see the attendance of most royal members including Kate Middleton amid her cancer treatment. 

King Charles, who witnessed the official birthday parade for his mother and the late Queen Elizabeth, and King George VI as a child, will be honored at Trooping the Colour in London for his 76th birthday this year. Even though King Charles's birthday is in November, he has decided to continue the royal tradition of celebrating monarch's birthdays during the celebratory military procession. 

What does Trooping the Color mean?

Trooping the Colour is a military procession of deep significance to serving soldiers. The tradition was cemented into royal history after it originated on the battlefield where regiment flags called “colours” were “trooped” around the ranks regularly to aware the soldiers of their regiment’s flags. It became a signal for rallies and “the gain or loss of colours were seen as decisive moments in battle,” per the Royal Museums Greenwich. 

Originally a ceremonial presentation of the British Army’s regimental flags, Trooping the Colors was first performed under the rule of King Charles II, in the period from 1660 to 1685. Then, it was not yet linked to the monarch’s birthday. After King George II took over the British throne in 1748, he decided to celebrate his otherwise November birthday, during the military parade in June.

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The Royal Museum Greenwich explains it, “With a November birthday being too cold for a celebratory parade, he tied his celebrations in with the annual Trooping the Colour military parade.” The event has formally linked with the reigning queen or king’s birthday ever since 1760. 


ALSO READ: King Charles 'Delighted' As Kate Middleton Confirms Appearance At Trooping The Colour Ceremony Amid Cancer Treatment

What happens in the Trooping the Color parade?

On the occasion of Trooping the Color, the royals and British citizens witness a pompous celebratory parade consisting of hundreds of soldiers, horses, and musicians. All parties involved coordinate and showcase spectacular horsemanship and military precision. The royal family participates by traveling in horse carriages from Buckingham Palace to The Mall to the Horse Guards Parade at St. James’ Park, per People. 

The King inspects troops representing the Regiments of the Household Division and is paid homage with a salute. In Buckingham Palace, the royal family witnesses the celebrations from their palace’s balcony and enjoys a colorful performance by the Royal Air Force. It is followed by a 41-gun salute. 

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King Charles succeeds his late mother as Colonel-in-Chief of the seven regiments of the household division whereas Prince William was honored to take over as Colonel of the Welsh Guards in 2022. Kate Middleton was made the Colonel of the Irish Guards and Queen Camilla the Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. Prince Anne has firmly maintained her position as the Colonel of the Blues and Royals.

It was reported that King Charles would not arrive on horseback owing to his cancer diagnosis and would be led by a horse carriage. 

Kate Middleton will attend Trooping the Colors

Generally, all British royal members are expected to attend the epic military celebrations, but Kate Middleton was expected to be excused amid her health battle. 

However, an official statement released on her behalf on June 14 confirms that the Princess of Wales will attend the Trooping the Colors. "I'm looking forward to attending the King’s Birthday Parade this weekend with my family and hope to join a few public engagements over the summer, but equally, knowing I am not out of the woods yet,” Middleton wrote in the statement. 

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This will mark her first public appearance in six months since her cancer diagnosis earlier this year. Middleton spoke optimistically of her health and said she is making “good progress” and is under chemotherapy treatments. In a bid to “make most of feeling well”, the Princess will make her way with Prince William, her kids, and other royal members to Buckingham Palace on horse-drawn carriages to attend the official birthday celebrations of King Charles. 

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they won’t be attending the royal event, similar to last year’s. Prince Andrew was stripped of his honor as the Colonel of Grenadier Guards in 2022, in light of his scandal with Jeffrey Epstein, while also stepping down as a royal in 2020, per People. Hence, King Charles’ younger brother is also not expected to attend the grand event on Saturday, June 15. 

ALSO READ: How Does Prince William Feel About Kate Middleton's Absence At Work? Reports Say THIS

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