Trooping the Colour: When is King Charles' birthday parade?

The military spectacle will be filled with pomp and pageantry

Prince William reviews his troops on horseback ahead of Trooping the Colour
Prince William reviewed his troops on horseback ahead of Trooping the Colour. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Royal Family will be out in force to celebrate King Charles' first Trooping the Colour parade as monarch.

The historic annual ceremony, which marks the King's official birthday, will take place on Saturday, 17 June.

Here is everything you need to know about Trooping the Colour.

What is Trooping the Colour?

Members of the Household Division Foot Guards march along The Mall
Members of the Household Division Foot Guards march along The Mall. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Trooping the Colour is held each June, in London's Horse Guards Parade, to celebrate the British monarch's official birthday. The military spectacle dates back to 1748, during King George II's reign, and became an annual event when George III took the throne in 1760.

Charles' actual birthday falls on 14 November, an occasion he celebrates privately with his family. But royal tradition dictates that the sovereign has a second birthday if their birthday falls in the winter months. This 'second' birthday then takes place on the second Saturday of June, when the weather is likely to be warmer.

Read more: Best photos of the Royal Family at Trooping the Colour

The ceremony and its name originated from traditional preparations for battle. Colours, or flags, were carried, or "trooped", down the ranks so they could be seen by the soldiers, to make sure they could recognise their regiment on the battlefield.

In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards Parade to "troop the colours". This evolved into the Trooping the Colour ceremony we know today, filled with the pomp and pageantry associated with royal events.

Prince William reviews his troops on horseback ahead of Trooping the Colour
The annual military spectacle dates back to 1748. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

This year's parade, the first since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, will be as grand as ever, with more 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians set to take part. Charles and other senior members of the Royal Family will travel from Buckingham Palace and down The Mall on horseback and in carriages. The King will appear on horseback – the first time we will see the reigning monarch do so since 1986.

At the end of the ceremony, senior royals will gather on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch the RAF fly-past. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York are likely to be absent, as they do not carry out official public duties.

How to watch Trooping of the Colour 2023

Trooping of the Colour 2023 will be broadcast live on BBC One on Saturday, 17 June, with coverage starting at 10:30am. It will also be available to stream on iPlayer.

Members of the public can watch the event from The Mall or on the edge of St James's Park overlooking Horse Guards Parade.