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London for Ceremonial
Her Majesty The Queen's Birthday Parade 2021

Her Majesty The Queen's Birthday Parade 2021


The Origin of Trooping the Colour

In the Middle Ages, each lord or baron flew his banner as a sign by which his followers could distinguish him in battle. As more flags were created they assumed a diversity of hues and came to be called ‘Colours’.

By the Civil War, 1642–60, Colours were in use for individual Companies and a Battalion would have had ten or more. The Regulations of 1661 established order and in 1707, during Queen Anne’s reign, the number of Colours was reduced to two per regiment.

The principal role of a regiment’s Colours was to provide a rallying point on the battlefield. This was essential because, without modern communications, it was all too easy for troops to become disoriented and separated from their unit during conflict. But if troops were to be able to find their Colours in the chaos of the battlefield they needed to be able to recognise them, and therefore it became the practice to display them regularly. This was achieved by parading the troops and having an officer march along the ranks with the Colours held high.

Colours were last carried into action by the 58th Foot in South Africa in 1881, but ‘trooping’ ceremonies continue to this day. The Colours also carry battle honours – the names of places where a regiment has fought with courage and distinction. As such, they serve as a reminder of hard-won victories, great sacrifice, and the loss of comrades. Before being presented by The Sovereign, a regiment’s Colours are consecrated in a religious ceremony. For all these reasons, Colours have become icons that symbolise a regiment’s history and traditions. For Guards regiments, our Colours also symbolise our direct and enduring link to our Sovereign.


1st Battalion Scots Guards in
Kasr-el-Nil Barracks, Egypt, Cairo 1936
In June that year they trooped the Regimental Colour at Gezira
to mark the Birthday of King Edward VIII



The Colour

F Company Scots Guards, the custodians of the Colours of the Second Battalion Scots Guards, is trooping it's Colour today. The Colours of the Regiment are one of its great glories and have been carried from its formation to the present day. Each Foot Guards Regiment has two Colours, otherwise known as a “stand”, comprising The Queen’s Colour and The Regimental Colour. Whenever the Sovereign or a member of the Royal Family is present, it is always the Queen’s Colour that is on parade. The Scots Guards’ most recent Battle Honours are “Falkland Islands 1982” and “Gulf 1991” and are inscribed on the Colours below a long list of previous wars and battles. As well as the Regiment’s Battle Honours, the Queen’s Colour of the Second Battalion also bears the Imperial Crown with the intertwined rose and thistle below. New Colours were presented to the Regiment by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace on the 18th May 2017.

Colours were presented to the Regiment by
Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace on the 18th May 2017

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