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Ceremonial Events

Ceremonial duties are an important part of Army history and tradition, and all soldiers undertaking this role are highly trained who also play an important part in military operations worldwide. Ceremonial events take place throughout the country, and indeed the world, but few are as high profile as those that draw millions of tourists to London year after year.

Important Notice

From the 16th January 2017 Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace now takes place on Mondays Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with all timings being earlier by thirty minutes.

Windsor Castle Guard will stay at the same time, but will also only take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with musical support and without musical support on Sundays. Changes are reflected in March Guard duties list attached.

01 Mar 17: St David’s Day is celebrated by the Welsh Guards.

07 Mar 17: Major General Inspection of The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery will be done in Woolwich to ensure their capability and readiness prior to the start of the 2017 ceremonial season.

09 Mar 17: Unveiling of the Iraq Afghanistan Memorial by HM The Queen at victoria Embankment Gardens followed by a Drumhead Service of dedication at Horse Guards Parade at 11am.

09 Mar 17: Household Division Concert Series at 7.00pm in the Guards' Chapel, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. The Band of The Welsh Guards. Free admission, retiring collection.

10 Mar 17: HRH The Earl of Wessex’s Birthday.

13 Mar 17: Commonwealth Flag Raising, hundreds of Commonwealth flags to be flown in significant, strategic and eye-catching positions across the Commonwealth, the United Kingdom and beyond on Monday 13th March 2017.

13 Mar 17: The Queen’s Baton Relay starts at Buckingham Palace. This has been a traditional curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the Cardiff 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The Queen’s Baton carries a message to the athletes of the Commonwealth from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on a journey from Buckingham Palace to the Opening Ceremony of the Games, where the message is removed from the Baton and read out at the Opening Ceremony by Her Majesty or a representative.

16 Mar 17: Major General’s Inspection Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment this is a display of State Ceremonial proficiency through a parade incorporating the mounted skills that will be required for upcoming State Ceremonial events. The Major General London District will inspect the Regiment in Hyde Park.

26 Mar 17: Change to Summer Guard Order, soldiers standing guard at the Royal Palaces will remove their winter dress of Athol grey great coats and appear for sentry duty in traditional red tunics.

28 Mar 17: Guards' Chapel Recital Series at 13:10hrs in the Guards' Chapel, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. Guards Saxophone Quartet. Free admission, retiring collection.

30 Mar 17: Household Division Concert Series at 7.30pm in the Guards' Chapel, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. The Band of The Honourable Artillery Company. Free admission, retiring collection.

A summary of timings for the Changing the Guard ceremonies in London and Windsor.

The official birthday of the Sovereign is marked each year by a military parade and march-past, known as Trooping the Colour, which takes place each June on Horse Guards Parade, London.

On two successive evenings in June, London's Horse Guards Parade, resounds to the stirring sounds of the Massed Bands of the Household Division as they perform Beating Retreat.

The Household Cavalry and one of the Foot Guards Battalions provide a small contingent on the Sunday nearest to 11th November, the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War.

State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, in which the Household Division plays a major ceremonial role.

Each year the Sovereign drives in State to Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament and is accompanied by various elements of Household Division.

The Queen's Guard and Queen's Life Guard are the names given to contingents of soldiers charged with guarding the official royal residences in London.

The Queen's Life Guard is provided by men of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) at Horse Guards.

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