An order from the army of James II of England, dated to 18 June 1690, had his drums beating an order for his troops to retreat and a later order, from William III in 1694, read:
"The Drum Major and Drummers of the Regiment which gives a Captain of the Main Guard are to beat the Retreat through the large street, or as may be ordered. They are to be answered by all the Drummers of the guards, and by four Drummers of each Regiment in their respective Quarters".
The participants of Household Division Beating Retreat are drawn from the bands of the two Household Cavalry Regiments and the five Foot Guards Regiments which make up the Household Division.
These bands are an essential part of State Ceremonial from Changing of The Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace to Trooping The Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.
In addition to the Band, each Foot Guards Battalion has its own Corps of Drums and, in the case of the Scots and Irish Guards, Pipes and Drums.