Recently, I saw photos online of the Royal Family at the annual Trooping the Color (or Colour, as they spell it in Britain) parade. It brought back memories, because once upon a time, in 1993 to be specific, I attended this event.
In case you didn’t know, Trooping the Color is held each year on a Saturday in June. It’s the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday, although her actual birthday is April 21. I knew about this event, and in 1993 when I was awarded a Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship, I planned to use the funds to travel to England and see various castles and royal sites. I hoped to see a few members of the royal family as well — specifically my favorite, Princess Diana.
I’ve Been to London to Visit the Queen
I planned my trip around the date for Trooping the Color, since I knew that most of the senior royals were usually in this parade. I walked across the London streets in plenty of time to find a viewing spot. I remember there was a big crowd lining the parade route, which traveled from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, and then back again.
And — I saw the Queen (top photo)!
And the Queen Mum and Princess Margaret (seen here)!
At one point it started to rain. But being British, the parade participants were ready. The marching band musicians had capes that they wore.
My big disappointment was that after waiting and watching for Princess Diana — she never showed up! I heard from others in the crowd that she was at William and Harry’s sports day at school, and indeed I saw this mentioned later in the press. Wouldn’t you know??! I planned the whole trip around this event in the hopes of seeing her, but no dice. Oh well. I did see the Queen!
I stuck around while the Queen reviewed her troops, and then turned around and returned to the Palace the same way she’d come. The crowd was friendly, and the time passed quickly as I visited with the various people. Here she is going the other direction, with Prince Philip riding the horse behind her.
Once the parade ended, the whole crowd, it seemed, began following the parade down the street (“The Mall”) to Buckingham Palace. I did the same, and I still remember the huge crush of people all walking along. I’m sure it’s even more extreme at an event like a royal wedding.
Here we all are, waiting for the royals to come out onto the balcony to view the crowds and a “fly past” of planes overhead. As you can see, my view wasn’t the greatest. But it was amazing to see the enthusiasm everyone had for the royal family. There was a lot of energy at the event, and I cherish my memories of seeing the Queen in London!