Confession time: London Baby has a weak spot. For the Royal Family. Of the UK, of the Netherlands, and probably for most countries if I ever move to it and they have a royal family.
The bad news: even though I am so obsessed with them, I still have not managed to get a personal meeting with the Queen or to have married Prince Harry. Yes, the title is a pure attention sucker!
The good news: Living in London offers you countless opportunities to SEE members of the Royal Family in real life! and even better news: one of the best opportunities of the year is coming up TOMORROW (Saturday 13th June)!
Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour is the event that marks the Queen’s Birthday. Her real birthday is in April, but to ensure the weather is as good as it can be, the event takes place every on the second Saturday in June.
It is a ceremony performed by certain regiments of the British and Commonwealth Army (they are displaying their “Colours” to the Queen). Its a quite elaborate ceremony and you can read all of it in the links provided further below. The main point for here its that its a great show and it showcases all the quintessential splendour of the large ceremonies that the world is used to from mega events like the Royal Weddings or The Diamond Jubilee!
The event begins around 10am with the whole pageantry going from Buckingham Palace to the Horse Guards Parade via the Mall. The actual ceremony takes places at Horse Guards Parade (but without a ticket, you’ll not be able to go close and can only watch it from a distance). Once the ceremony is finished, the whole procession goes back to Buckingham Palace (again via the Mall). At 1pm, the Royal Family will appear on the Balcony and Watch the Flyover. The Flyover is really impressive with Airplanes flying so closely to each other and so low in the sky (there will be several formation flights, followed by a grand finale).
If you want to have a good spot to view, you should be a few hours early (make sure you got something to kill the time and don’t drink too much before, no loos anywhere near….plus you’ll lose the spot!).
Below a few impressions from the recent years. One picture is of the balcony scene taken at Trooping the Colour 2011. The Balcony Picture is not very good quality, due to the far distance, but you can see that really all the family is there! The other pictures are from last year’s event
The official Website of Trooping the Colour can be found here.
Tickets for the Grand Stands at the Horse Guards Parade are strictly distributed by Ballot only. If you want to apply for tickets for next year, write to
The Brigade Major, Headquarters Household Division, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX,
stating how many tickets are required (max 3 per application), and enclosing a stamped envelope. You will need to do this in January or February to receive a confirmation of your success (or failure) in the ticket lottery by March. If you have won, then you’ll get an instruction for payment (I have heard prices are ~£20 per ticket).
Other Ways to meet members of the Royal Family
If you already have plans for this Saturday, there are plenty other opportunities for you to meet the Royals! Have fun, and good luck!
– just bump into them
You might get lucky in the (Private Member) Clubs around Chelsea and Kensington, King’s Road, Posh restaurants (e.g. Chiltern Firehouse, The Goring Hotel etc.) – for the younger Generation Royals; the Churches of Balmoral and Sandringham (the Queen and Prince Philip are regulars here), or anywhere in the world where there is biological agricultural farming (Prince Charles is known to visit farms undercover in Germany and Romania and undoubtedly other places). And sometimes, you can be plain lucky when you meet them when you don’t expect it- as happened to London Baby when visiting a concert in Royal Albert Hall and guess who showed up…..
– become a professional Royal Stalker
All engagements of the members of the Royal Family (including those members you have never heard of) are publicised on the Royal household webpage. A dream for stalkers! Just pick your favourite Royal (s) and start stalking! The Queen is said to remember the most loyal spectators!
– Special Royal events
Not limited to, but including – Royal Jubilees (if the Queen continues as current, there might be a few more to come!), Royal Weddings (Harry, I am waiting for you), Royal Babies (if you are willing to camp out in front of the Lindo Wing for weeks at a time) and of course, Trooping the Colour. Often, those events offer great picture opportunities (see my most prized Royal shot at the top of this post and the picture of the Queen in her carriage below; both from the Royal Wedding in 2011) and will become part of public memory (and you can say “I’ve been there”), but for sure they involve hour long waiting and massive crowds.
– get invited
If you are a good British Citizen doing loads of great things to support your community, or serving your home country in different ways, or if you are famous, you might get an invitation to meet the Royals. Each summer, there are countless garden parties in the garden of Buckingham Palace with up to 1000 attendance, where members of the Royal Family attend (you can’t choose your favourite though and have to take whoever shows up). Often, those invited have been involved in charity / community work. Or, of course, you could be knighted!