Queen’s Birthday Parade – London

           There’s some great parades on this globe.

           Rose Bowl Parade in Los Angeles – best use of flowers outside of Mother’s Day.

           National Day parade in Singapore – military show with tanks and missles, but yet friendly and fun.

           Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City– its got Rockettes, but let’s be honest it can be kinda cold and rainy.

           All good shows. However, this publication submits the Queen’s Birthday Parade in London as simply the greatest. The atmosphere is one of the best city-wide spectacles on the globe.

            It starts with the ride on the subway/Tube/Underground.  On the scheduled Saturday in June, the ride is filled with top hats, canes, and every sort of proper dress for meeting the queen. Because, that is what everyone is doing, sort of.

            The parade includes all available members of the Royal Family who get up in time for it. Some drive by in a window-filled bus, others ride in Jaguars. The really important ones, like Prince William, Kate, and of course the Queen travel in horse-drawn carriages. You really do get to see all of them live and in person. In the US, you would need to get Oprah, Bon Jovi, and most the Kardashians on horseback to come close to the same scale.

            The Royals really make an effort to interact with the crowd – albeit from a distance – and seem to enjoy it as much as the commoners. Genuine smiles.

            The rest of the parade is made up of more horses than can ever be seen in one spot, and what seems like most of the British military. It is colorful, choreographed, and definitely for the people.   Even the security along the route is a sight to be seen. Ever-present and at the same time not intrusive or obstructing.

            Part of the day’s festivities include something known as Trooping the Colour. This is a marching-band-but-way-better display in an open area near Buckingham Palace.  Here, the Royal Family and invited guests (not everyone gets to see this part, you have to be picked via lottery) get to see a marching procession of the operational troops. The Queen completes an inspection of the troops, then heads back to Buckingham palace in a carriage.

            Once the Queen and company arrive back at the palace, the Royal Air Force performs some impressive fly-bys. The fly-bys can be seen from lots of places around London.   It’s similar to a display before an NFL football game or NASCAR race, just with tons more planes and top hats.

            The chatter in the crowd during the parade is far different than a Fourth of July experience.  Examples:

“I heard Prince Such-And-Such drank too much and couldn’t make the ceremony.”

“That hat is lovely/terrible.”

“Good to see Prince Such and Such looking so healthy.”

           Seems everyone in the crowd knows the intimate daily details of the Royals. Maybe the rumor starts at the Buckingham Palace end of the parade route, and gets twisted by the time it gets to the other end.   Vastly entertaining to listen to – maybe better than the event itself.   

            Fun continues after the parade. Imagine a city full of people in their Sunday-meeting-the-Queen best all going to their favorite pub directly after the parade. Not sure you’ll find such a spectacle anywhere else. You’ll definitely know you are in London.

            This year’s event took place today in London, same day as the England vs Italy World Cup soccer match.  This will dial up the pub activity.  

            Next parade falls on June 21, 2015. To get in on the 2015 lottery to see the big show at Trooping the Colour, you need to contact the following address.  Cheers:

Brigade Major

HQ Household Division

Horse Guards





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