Trooping of the Colours – Kind of, Sort of Not Really

by Elle Chaseton


            I was assigned to write about Trooping of the Colour (“TOC”). I thought, it is in England, that is pretty cool. Place anything in England and it will be way cooler. Harry Potter in the USA’s New England with New Jersey accents, not an eight-movie franchise with theme parks.

            TOC, visually at first glance feels like a horse thing. In real life, the grandeur of 200 horses in front of a centuries old, 770-room castle I am sure is spectacular. It does not translate to TV though. The Dothrakie on their horses in Games of Throne (“GOT”) that translated to TV.

            TOC being a year-long anticipated event of aristocrats, I thought I will take a peek into the fashion. Maybe it is too soon after my ogling of the Met Gala fashion but TOC is not a fashionista event. Yes, the soldiers with their uniforms and plume hats are astounding but kind of like seen one seen them all. There is nothing bad about the aristocratic fashion at TOC. I can hear my mother, (“well-constructed, clean, pressed, not ostentatious, and covers what should be covered – perfection”) – thus, a success.

            The hats in every iteration are extraordinary and do not disappoint. To be expected. If I had to attend an event in the middle of summer, outside and had to dress up in well-constructed perfectly pressed clothes, I would have to have something unbelievably fun to wear.

            This leads me the royal aspect. Just royalty in general gets me. Would GOT be half as interesting if royalty and quest to be even one degree from royalty were not present? Royalty is a thing, a thing that interests us here in the USA.  The TOC disappoints on this point. Sure there is a far-away-land, royalty, pageantry, an enormous event, and a castle – but where are the tiaras? Even GOT understands the importance of tiaras. The GOT royal’s ultimate moments were not the physical sitting on a throne but the placing of a tiara on the head; sure a crown too (my opinion). The UK royalty’s affection for protocols is to blame. One should not wear a tiara until you are married. Yep, I would have married at 12 if got a tiara. It has to be at night (unless at a wedding and you are the royal bride) and a white tie event. The long-honored TOC is in the daytime and while fancy not white tie so no tiaras. The Royal House of Windsor has at least 48 tiaras and they all have names. Not surprisingly, the special swords in the GOT were given names – a tiara deserves no less.

            Without a stampede of horses, glamourous attire or bejeweled tiaras to admire, here is what the TOC offers. Extraordinary pomp and pageantry with an immense and a proud history. The ceremony has marked the sovereign’s official birthday since 1748. Each year, one of the five Foot Guards regiments of the Household Division is selected to slowly troop (carry) its colour through the ranks of guards, who stand with arms presented. During the slow march-past, the colours are lowered before the monarch and during the quick march-past the colours fly. The monarch will salute the colours in return. There will be 1,200 soldiers, 400 musicians including drums and pipers, a 41-gun salute, royals on a castle’s balcony and a Royal Navy fly-by. No doubt an event worth attending. Attend in person. Live large, wear a tiara though. It will be that much better. This year the main TOC event will be June 12, 2024.

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