The Major General’s annual inspection of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is the ultimate test for the British Army’s most spectacular and exacting ceremonial unit. It’s a test they must pass in order to participate in upcoming State Ceremonial duties and, for the first time since 2019, that will include the honour of taking part in this year’s refined Queen’s Birthday Parade.
With the eyes of the world constantly on them, a searing annual quality control check is a challenging but welcome validation for these military perfectionists.
The Major General's Inspection
Around 170 horses and personnel of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment left Knightsbridge Barracks and headed to the “Football Pitch” area of Hyde Park to form up and be inspected by the General Officer Commanding the Household Division. They were accompanied by the mounted band of the Household Cavalry with their magnificent shire Drum Horses.
A rigorous inspection of horsemanship, turnout and State Ceremonial uniform was made by Major General Chris Ghika, the General Officer Commanding London District and Commanding Officer of the Household Division.
The iconic image of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment escorting the Sovereign represents the best of British Pageantry to the world so there was no room for compromise; nothing short of excellence would do. Troopers had prepared for weeks to perfect their skills, poise and appearance; hours of polishing and minute attention to detail had been invested in ensuring horses, swords and breastplates dazzled as their mirror surfaces reflected the light.
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment are a regular sight at Trooping the Colour where they perform the Sovereign’s Escort, protecting Her Majesty on her journey from Buckingham Palace to inspect the parade of Foot Guards on Horse Guards Parade. COVID-19 curtailed that duty last year, and although restrictions mean the parade cannot take place on Horse Guards again this year, test passed, the Cavalry now have the honour of taking part in the refined parade in Windsor Castle on 12 June.
The regiment demonstrated the main elements of the major State Ceremonial parades that they will conduct throughout the coming season.
The Major General, mounted on his horse Atticus, rode through the ranks checking every trooper and Cavalry horse before taking his position at the inspection site. Then the Household Cavalry Regiment filed past the Major General in walk and trot to replicate the Queen’s Birthday Parade. They also demonstrated a Captain’s Escort (without Standard) as a further demonstration of the Regiment’s capabilities and skills.
The Major General’s Inspection is a quality control check from the General Officer Commanding the Household Division to assure that the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment are ready to conduct mounted ceremonial duties. It is a great honour to carry out these duties and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment have worked tirelessly to ensure they are able to meet the high standard required”. The Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Armitage
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
For more than 300 years, the soldiers of The Household Cavalry have been the Sovereign’s most trusted bodyguards and escorted Her Majesty on state occasions such as the ceremonial welcome parades for visiting heads of state. The Unit provides a 24/7 ceremonial Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards - the official entrance to the Royal Palaces, and also provides Staircase parties for the State Opening of Parliament and State Banquets.
The Household Cavalry is made up of the two most senior regiments in the British Army - The Life Guards and The Blues & Royals.
It is divided into the operationally focussed Household Cavalry Regiment based in Bulford, Wiltshire and the ceremonial Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment which is based in Knightsbridge, London. Soldiers transition seamlessly between the two, delivering cutting edge capability in armoured reconnaissance and combat operations of today, whilst still maintaining the highest standards and strong traditions of the past.