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.

Army ceremonial events take place throughout the country, and indeed the world. This is a summary of those which take place in and around London.

Beating Retreat
Beating Retreat has its origins in the early years of organised warfare when the beating of drums and the parading of Post Guards heralded the closing of camp gates and the lowering of flags at the end of the day.

Changing of the Guard
The pomp and ceremony involved in the Changing of the Guard is a popular London tourist attraction.

Remembrance Sunday
Remembrance Sunday is the Sunday nearest to 11th November - Remembrance Day, which is the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War, in 1918 at 1100hrs. The national ceremony is held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London. Since 2005 the women's memorial has also included.

State Visits
State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, with the aim of strengthening Britain's relationships with other countries.

The Queen's Guard
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
The Queen's Life Guard is provided by men of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) at Horse Guards. The HCMR consists of a Squadron of The Life Guards, who wear red tunics and white plumed helmets, and a Squadron of The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) with blue tunics and red plumed helmets.

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

Trooping the Colour
The official birthday of the Sovereign is marked each year by a military parade and march-past, known as Trooping the Colour. This place each June on Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, in front of crowds of onlookers and is enjoyed by millions world-wide. The troops participating in the parade are drawn of fully trained, operational troops from the Household Division.