Trooping the Colour

The Queen celebrated her State birthday yesterday with the Trooping the Colour and as I enjoyed taking photos at Westminster Abbey at the start of the month I decided to go.

I'd put some of photos from outside the Abbey on Flickr and was contacted by someone in the Blues and Royals Band who really liked them so I decided to try and get some insider information of where the best vantage point would be (as I also really hate crowds which doesn't help on these sorts of occasions!). Anyway he suggested that I watch them come out of the Barracks and follow them to Canada Gate which is where they were due to wait to escort the Queen to Horseguards Parade. And what a fabulous tip! Me and a handful of people had great views of hundreds of horses come out for the start of the march to Buckingham Palace. No crowds! My idea of heaven

The noise of the hooves on the road, clattering of armour! Drums and trumpets was awe inspiring.

Of course the Blues and Royals Band came out first and I was so caught up with watching all regiments go by I realised I had to try and catch them up. Now I'm not the fittest of people, plus was wearing platform trainers to give me extra height in a crowd but not the best footwear to run down the horse path in Hyde Park (think Spice Girls c.1997!). I must have looked a sight all sweaty, running then stopping to take a shot then running again. But you will be glad to hear I caught up with the front ( though I must admit I surprised myself).

To see them ride and play was amazing. You take it for granted when you hear or see them but think about it. How hard must that be! And they are always in perfect alignment.

There was a brief wait at Canada Gate which meant more shots - a sitting target is easier to snap. I was quite surprised how easy it was to move around to get different angles despite the crowds.

I decided before I left home to make the decision whether to stay for the whole event or go after they had escorted the Queen to Horseguards Parade. However given how've crowds weren't to bad I decided to try and chance it. And I was lucky enough to find a spot at the front of the barrier opposite Clarence House. Get in!

Birds eye view of the band coming down the Mall

 I believe these drums are solid silver! Can you imagine, luckily there were enough policeman and soldiers to make sure no one nicked them! Gave great reflections

 And to see the wonderful Kate
And of course the Queen. So good to see the Duke back by her side though shame they were in a closed carriage ( though sensible given the Duke had just come out of hospital). If I can do as much as either of them can at their age I'd be happy!

  Turns out that William and Charles were there, just hidden under a bearskin hats and barely recognisable. I did spot Anne and I can show this picture without asking permission from the Palace! (see my post What I did at Work).

Then of course soldier marching after soldier. It was great to see and I was so glad I waited!

I did pass on seeing them on the balcony - just look at all those people!
However I did see the Red Arrows whilst on a bus going down the Strand which was an added bonus.

All in all an extraordinary day! After tweeting the pics to the Band I was asked if I was free to visit the Barrcks. Unfortunately I wasnt free on the suggested day but hopefully we can sort something out. Watch this space. In the meantime watch out for the Band on State Occassions. They do a wonderful job and I can't imagine how hard it is to play, ride and be in formation with everyone else! And the horses are truly exceptional, especially Archillies and Mercury the two shires with the massive drums which are far from quiet!

Only downside to my day is that OH is a bit of a Republican and so wasn't at all pleased to hear about my day. Ah well - you can't win them all!

Happy Birthday your Majesty!

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