The Army honoured HM The Queen today at the start of Her Blue Sapphire Jubilee year with visually spectacular and very loud Accession Gun Salutes.
The first in London, at midday in Green Park, was performed with the aid of 89 horses from The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery to musical accompaniment by the Royal Artillery Band. Commanded by Captain Katie Lavin, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery pulled six First World War era 13 Pounder Field Guns into the park.
On the word of command each of the six guns fired blank artillery rounds at ten-second intervals until forty one shots had been fired.
At 1pm the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), the City of London’s Reserve Army Regiment, having driven through the City in their Pinzgauer vehicles, fired a 62 Gun salute with three L118 Ceremonial Light Guns, from Tower Wharf at ten second intervals.
Gun Salutes also took place across the UK including in York and at Edinburgh Castle.
Princess Elizabeth became Queen on 6 February 1952 on the day her father, King George VI, died. Although Princess Elizabeth was away in Kenya with the Duke of Edinburgh at the time, tradition dictates that the new monarch accedes to the throne instantly.
While a Royal Salute normally comprises 21 guns, this is increased to 41 if fired from a Royal Park or Residence. Uniquely, at The Tower of London which is a Royal Residence, a total of 62 rounds are fired on Royal anniversaries as this also includes an additional 21 guns for the citizens of the City of London to show their loyalty to the Monarch.