Cadet stands proudly at King's Birthday Parade

Historic First: Cadets Join Trooping the Colour Ceremony

On Saturday, 15th June 2024, the grand ceremony of Trooping the Colour took place in London, marking the official birthday of His Majesty King Charles III.

Historic First: Cadets Join Trooping the Colour Ceremony

17 June 2024

  • National

On Saturday, 15th June 2024, the grand ceremony of Trooping the Colour took place in London, marking the official birthday of His Majesty King Charles III. The event was a magnificent display of British military tradition, featuring Number 9 Company of the Irish Guards trooping their Colour in the presence of the King. The spectacle, steeped in history and pageantry, saw over 1,350 soldiers from the Household Division and King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery participate, alongside more than 300 musicians from the Massed Bands, 240 military working horses and the mascot of the Irish Guards, Irish Wolf Hound, Turlough Mór.

This is the first time in history that cadets have been invited to participate. Dressed in No.1 Dress, they were the first point of contact when guests arrived and assisted with soft ticketing, directions and escorting VIPs. Later in the day, they led the public down the Mall alongside 500 other members of youth organisations from across the country.

We were delighted to have the cadets on board for this - the delivery of what is for them, the first of their Sovereign's birthday parades. Having cadets front and centre with members of the public, showing precisely what they can do and what value they can add to such a prestigious event, can't be underestimated.

WO1 D Roper MVO, Supt Clerk HQ Household Division

A Tradition Steeped in History

The ceremony of Trooping the Colour dates back to the reign of King Charles II, who ruled from 1660 to 1685. Initially, it was a military exercise to ensure that each soldier could recognise their regiment's flag. By 1748, it had become a tradition to mark the Sovereign's official birthday and the household divisions birthday gift to the monarch, a practice that has continued annually since the reign of King George III, who ascended the throne in 1760.

Captain James Douet, Contingent Support Officer of the London District Cadet Training Team, and the Officer-in-Command of the Army Cadet Contribution to the King's Birthday Parade, said, "To cap it off with leading the public down the Mall alongside 500 other members of youth organisations from across the country is an extraordinary moment. It is one that I and I think both the cadets and adults will not forget for the rest of their lives".

Recognising Excellence

This year's event also celebrated the outstanding contributions of members of the Army Cadet Force (ACF), with ACCT UK awarding cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) pairs of tickets and accommodation to attend the parade. These winners were also invited to the ACCT UK Recognising Excellence Awards on 14th June.

Winners included:

Their exceptional service and dedication to the cadet force were acknowledged in a ceremony that highlighted the impact of their work on their communities and peers.

A Spectator's Delight

The Trooping the Colour was an unforgettable experience for those fortunate enough to attend. SI Holly McAlpine, one of the ticket recipients, expressed her excitement: "Being a spectator at the King's Birthday Parade was an incredible opportunity. The sheer precision and splendour of the ceremony left me in awe. It's a day I will remember for the rest of my life."

The Trooping the Colour remains a beloved tradition, encapsulating the heritage and continuity of the British monarchy and its armed forces. This year's parade, marked by impeccable performances and the celebration of excellence within the cadet force, was a fitting tribute to His Majesty The King on his official birthday.