|There are other traditions of more serious, yet none the less colourful, significance. The familiar scene of Trooping the Colour never loses its impressive solemnity. The Horse Guards Parade . . . the stirring music of massed bands . . . military attaches in colourful uniforms . . . the glint of naked steel . . . the staccato clatter of hoofs. It is a ceremony dear to the heart of Londoners and one that appeals to the imagination of all foreigners.|
This guard-mounting ceremony can be traced to the mid-eighteenth century when the battalion providing guards for the day trooped the Colour to be carried on the King's Guard. No moment in the entire Season can equal the pageantry and tradition that finds expression as the Queen rides in from the Mall escorted by a Sovereign's Escort of Household Cavalry, and attended by the royal procession. She then inspects the troops twenty minutes of tremendous strain for the men on parade, often under a hot sun. The stillness is broken by the band and drums with a slow march from right to left of the line, then a quick march from left to right. The Colour Escort steps out, halts opposite the Colour, which is taken over by the Ensign as the band plays the National Anthem, and trooped down the line. The guards march past in slow and quick time, form up again in line, then when the Queen has received a royal salute form into divisions. Finally, at the head of the Queen's Guard, the Queen rides along the Mall to Buckingham Palace. The relieving ceremony then takes place in the forecourt, and the remaining guards march past and return to barracks. Given true June weather this hour is London's most impressive military ceremony.