Category: yearly events

The Queen’s Maundy Money: Silver for the Poor on Maundy Thursday

By , April 2, 2010 2:22 am

The Day Before the Easter Holiday Starts

Every year, the Royal Mint makes special coins, of pure silver, with different values from normal coins.

The Queen then takes these coins, placed in specially-made leather purses, and gives her age in pence to a number of men and women equal to her age in a Cathedral ceremony, every Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, is in many ways the start of the Easter holiday in England.

The Queen's Maundy Money, especially minted, comes in red and white leather purses

The Queen's Maundy Money, especially minted, comes in red and white leather purses


Although it’s a working day, it’s rather like Christmas Eve – lots of people will either take the day off, or make an early get-away for the 4-day Easter weekend. (There is a holiday on Good Friday and a bank holiday on Easter Monday, so it’s a nice break from the regular working routine).

There is a centuries-old tradition of a Maundy ceremony (from c.600 AD) and more recently (since the time of King John or so) a ceremony on Maundy Thursday involving the King or Queen, in which coins are given to the deserving poor.

This post is about the history and practice of the Queen’s Maundy Money.

Origin of the phrase “Maundy Thursday”

The Queen's Maundy Money ceremony in 1898, at Westminster Abbey

The Queen's Maundy Money ceremony in 1898, at Westminster Abbey

There is not a united view about the origin of the phrase.  The most popular idea is that it comes from the phrase Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos in the Latin Vulgate Bible, where Christ said to his apostles, A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. (Gospel according to St. John, 13.34). 

Mandatum, which is also the origin of the words “mandatory”, “mandamus” and “mandate”, is thought to be the origin of the “Maundy” part of the phrase, and the “Thursday” part is rather self-explanatory.

Early Maundy Ceremonies

An important part of early Maundy Thursday celebrations was the washing of poor people’s feet, in imitation of Christ, and to show essential humility and the equal-before-God idea (a concept that most medieval bishops honoured more in the breach than the observance, as a general rule).

Foot washing was done by bishops and other important clergymen, and also by the King or Queen, until the mid 17th century – King James II was the last monarch to wash feet personally. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, does it each Maundy Thursday now.

The washing of feet comes from the Last Supper, where Christ washed the feet of his disciples during the Passover celebrations.

Giving To the Poor

The Queen at the Maundy Money ceremony in 1952, her first public engagement as Queen

The Queen at the Maundy Money ceremony in 1952, her first public engagement as Queen

Anglo-Norman Kings certainly appear to have given alms to the poor on Maundy Thursday.

King John is recorded as having given alms to the poor in Knaresborough, in Yorkshire, when he happened to be there for Holy Week in 1210 AD. He gave knives, clothes and food. (There are lots of references to his giving forks, too. That strikes me as inherently unlikely, because people didn’t use forks for eating until several centuries later).

It is unlikely that King John was the first English King to give alms on this day.

Medieval Maundy Money

The first recorded giving of money to commemorate Maundy Thursday is during the reign of Edward I, who ruled from 1272 (and was King John’s grandson).

The process became more formalised, and more important after the Reformation, as the King or Queen was then not only the ruler of the secular country, but head of the Church of England, too.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Maundy Money

A 3d coin, or thruppeny bit, showing the "young" Queen's head which still appears on Maundy money today

A 3d coin, or thruppeny bit, showing the "young" Queen's head which still appears on Maundy money today

The process has been pretty similar for some decades, now.

Each Maundy Thursday, the Queen gives out Maundy purses at one of England’s Cathedrals. The only exception was in 2008, where the ceremony was held in St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland cathedral, in Armagh, Northern Ireland.

The red and white Maundy purses are given to a number of elderly men and women, chosen now from the local area for charitable and other good works. There is one man and one woman for each of the Queen’s years – so as she is now 84 years old, on 1st April 2010 she gave Maundy money to 84 men and 84 women, in Derby Cathedral.

The white purse contains a £5 coin and a 50p coin, and the red purse contains 1p, 2p, 3p and 4p coins, adding up to the Queen’s age again. So the 84 men and 84 women get 84 pence in coins in their red leather purses.

A 50 pence piece in general circulation, showing the Queen's most recent portrait

A 50 pence piece in general circulation, showing the Queen's most recent portrait

The coins are not normal coins. 1p, 2p and 50p coins are in general circulations, but 3p, 4p and £5 coins are not. These coins are all legal tender, for their face value, but are obviously worth a great deal more than 3p or whatever.

Unlike modern coins, which are struck from alloys, the Maundy Money coins are minted each year, from sterling silver, so the coins are 92.5% silver.

In addition, the specially-minted coins feature the first portrait of Elizabeth II, issued on her coins from 1953. This “young portrait” was replaced on normal coins in 1962, but remains on each year’s Maundy Money.

Until 1909, extra sets of Maundy coins were struck and could be purchased. Edward VIII decided to abolish this, and since 1909, the only sets of Maundy coins issued have been to the recipients at the annual ceremony.

Obviously, the number of coins increases each year as the Queen gets older, and the number of pennies issued rises by one, as does the number of men and women who receive them.

The BBC’s article about 2010′s ceremony in Derby can be read here, and the Monarchy’s official article about the ceremony is here.



A Proper English Christmas Pudding Recipe

By , December 14, 2009 12:40 pm

Introduction

Traditionally the pudding is made on the Sunday Next Before Advent, or “Stir up Sunday” in late November, when the Collect for the Sunday begins,

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded…

The whole household is then supposed to give the mixture a stir, and make a (silent) wish.

It can be made earlier, like a rich fruitcake, but better late than never.

Ingredients and mixing the recipe

8oz raisins,                            roughly chopped

8 oz sultanas                         ..              ..

8 oz dried apricots               ..              ..              (preferably without sulphur dioxide)

6 oz prunes                           ..              ..

2 oz blanched almonds, chopped

2 oz mixed (citrus) peel, chopped, or 2 tablespoons coarse-cut marmalade

4 oz dark brown sugar

6 oz fresh breadcrumbs – I use wholemeal, but white is fine

2 oz ground almonds

4 oz shredded suet (you can use beef or vegetable suet)

I cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated or finely chopped

1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and mixed spice

½ teaspoon each of ground cloves and ground allspice

½ nutmeg, freshly grated (you can vary the spices a bit according to what you have)

Grated rind of 1 lemon, 1orange, squeeze juice and retain.

Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl:

3 eggs

¼ pint stout – eg. Guinness

¼ pint barley wine if you can find it, otherwise use a fortified wine, eg. marsala, sherry, port

3 tablespoons rum or brandy,

Juice of the lemon and orange

Beat all wet ingredients well, or whiz in a food processor.

Add to dry ingredients, stir well (you can invite other family members to give a good stir and make a wish!)

Mixture should be of good dropping consistency, that is, it should fall from the spoon when it is tapped on the edge of the bowl.  If not, add a bit more stout or wine.

Cover bowl with tea-towel and leave a few hours, or, better, overnight, to let the flavours develop, before cooking it.

Cooking the Christmas Pudding

Next day, grease a pudding basin, c. 3 pints., or 2 smaller ones. Pack mixture in.  Cover double layer of buttered/greased greaseproof paper, tie down with string.

Steam pudding for c. 6 to 7 hours, topping water up as necessary.

I use my pressure cooker, c. 40 minutes with no pressure, then about 4 ½ hours at 15lbs pressure.

When cold, replace  greaseproof paper covering with fresh paper.  Store the Christmas Pudding  in a cool, dark place.

Cooking the Christmas Pudding on Christmas Day

On the great day, steam again for c.1 ½ hours, or c. 45 minutes in pressure cooker.  I bring mine to pressure just as I serve the main course, which works out fine for timing.

Reduce pressure with cold water.  Heat a little brandy gently in a small saucepan.  Turn the pudding out onto warm dish with enough depth for extra liquid.  Pour brandy over pudding, set fire to it (!) and serve with brandy or rum butter, brandy cream, or possibly ice cream.


Fireworks, Bonfires and Guys – celebrating Guy Fawkes’ Night

By , November 6, 2009 2:53 am

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

Contemporary picture of Guy Fawkes being arrested

Contemporary picture of Guy Fawkes being arrested

Guy Fawkes and his group of Catholic fellow-conspirators did their best to blow up Parliament on the 5th November 1605, on the day of the State Opening of Parliament.

Their conspiracy, and the 36 barrels of gunpowder stashed in a cellar under the House of Lords, was discovered hours before the explosion was due.

The “gunpowder plot” and the rebellion that was supposed to follow failed, and James I kept his throne, and the Members of Parliament and Lords stayed alive.

For more about the history and aims of the gunpowder plot, see the previous post on this site.

The defeat of the plot – and the subsequent torture and execution of the plotters – is celebrated annually with great enthusiasm to this day. This post is about the bangs, fires and whimpers of Bonfire Night / Firework Night  Guy Fawkes’ Night in England – fireworks, bonfires, burning effigies, and special grub.

The Times has an article about good public displays and events in 2009 here.

Family parties and public events

Guy Fawkes' Night at Windsor Castle, 1776

Guy Fawkes' Night at Windsor Castle, 1776

Lots of people go to big public firework displays, held on commons, heaths and in parks all over the place.

These tend to be on the nearest Saturday to the 5th November, rather than on the actual day (if the 5th November isn’t a Saturday anyway).

Similarly, people often choose to have private parties in their own back gardens, more often on the actual day, whatever day of the week that happens to be.

That way they can also attend a grand display locally, should they choose to do so!

Fireworks

Fireworks are a big part of Guy Fawkes’ Night. It’s perfectly legal to buy fireworks (other than the really big kind) and set them off in your own back garden, and many families do. Mine always did as a child, and we loved it. Bangs and stars in the sky are therefore a common feature of the week or two around the 5th November. Newsagents, supermarkets and other shops usually sell boxes of a selection of fireworks and rockets, and also packets off sparklers, around the start of November.

Bonfires

Bonfires are a big part of the evening. It’s a handy time of year (lots of dead leaves and fallen branches) and helps to keep people warm as well, if it’s chilly. Public celebrations also often have them – in my parents’ village in Kent, they have an enormous bonfire lit on the village green before the fireworks start – it’s usually about 20 – 30 feet tall, and people are cheerfully invited to contribute suitable burning material.

Burning Guys, and “penny for the Guy!”

The Gunpowder plot conspirators, including Guy Fawkes

The Gunpowder plot conspirators, including Guy Fawkes

Traditionally, a figure is burned on the bonfire – a rough model of a man, often about or nearly life-size. This “guy” is supposed to represent Guy Fawkes himself, although in real life, Fawkes was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, rather than burned.

Until the end of the 19th century, effigies of the Pope and Devil were often burned as well, but such overt anti-Catholicism is rather unfashionable, now.

Unpopular politicians and so forth can find themselves being modelled for bonfires to this day. This year, for example, the Bonfire Society in Edenbridge in Kent intends to burn a 30 foot guy modelled on Jordan, AKA Katie Price (a model).  The BBC has written about the plans here.

In my family, when I was a child, we made a guy every year from sacks or similar, and clothed him in ragged old jumpers unfit for anything else. A face was drawn on with pen, and chunks of wool for hair. Not great works of art, but fun to make.

Just before the bonfire is lit, the effigy is slung on the top, to burn with the fire.

It used to be much more common for children to make a guy, and trundle it round the streets in a pushchair or trolley, shouting, “penny for the guy” in order to collect funds for fireworks. The more impressively-created the guy, the more money could be expected. It happens less now, especially because children aren’t allowed to buy fireworks any more – a buyer has to be over 18. It’s still pretty common for a guy for a village event to be left out with a collecting tin, to gather funds for a firework display.

Food

There are certain foods which are traditionally-eaten on Bonfire Night – some are traditional nationally, others only in one region or county.

Common across the country is a meal of sausages, jacket potatoes, and baked beans, or similar. The potatoes can be wrapped in foil and put at the edge of the bonfire to cook.

Treacle toffee (darker and much less sweet than normal toffee) and toffee apples are common.

“Parkin” is a common Bonfire Night all over the country, but the actual recipe for this varies hugely. Same name, rather different food! Mostly, it’s a type of soft, treacle-based cake, made with both oats and flour.

Famous Bonfire Night Celebrations

Burning crosses symbolising 17 protestant martyrs in Lewes

Burning crosses symbolising 17 protestant martyrs in Lewes

There are many local traditions and societies, so I’ll only mention a couple of the biggest and best-known.

Lewes, a town in East Sussex, has a particularly enthusiastic group of Bonfire Societies.

Each of the 7 main societies creates at least one elaborate effigy – Guy Fawkes predominates, local and national politicians often also feature.

There are also models of people’s heads on pikes (a type of spear), often modelled after unpopular members of the town council, or those who opposed the Lewes festivities.

Societies, each with mottos and caps, parade their effigies and heads through the streets, carrying fire torches and similar.

Smugglers in the Cliffe Bonfire Society's parade in Lewes

Smugglers in the Cliffe Bonfire Society's parade in Lewes

Many people in the parades are dressed up – Zulus, smugglers and Elizabethans are particularly common.

The parades end in bonfires and firework displays. Lewes is a small town, but crowds of up to 80,000 are common, and roads, car parks etc are closed down for the evening.

You can find the Lewes Bonfire Council’s website here.

I’ve been to the Lewes event a couple of times – my uncle lives near by. It’s awe-inspiring, mad, and fantastic fun.

Ottery St Mary in Devon is a small town with a very odd Guy Fawkes tradition.  The first part of the Carnival consists of costume parades and fireworks (so far, so normal).

The second part is made up of men, women and children carrying tar barrels through the streets, while those barrels are on fire.

A man carrying a flaming tar barrel in Ottery St Mary

A man carrying a flaming tar barrel in Ottery St Mary

There are 17 barrels, all lovingly-coated with coal tar over some months, and then filled with hay or paper.

Each is lit outside a traditional pub, shop, or hotel, throughout the afternoon and evening, and then people take it in turns to run through the streets, carrying the flaming barrels.

It’s a family-based tradition – people in the same families tend to carry barrels from the same pubs down the years.

The Ottery St Mary tar barrel site is to be found here.



Guy Fawkes – Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

By , November 5, 2009 11:59 pm

What’s Guy Fawkes’ Night AKA Bonfire Night AKA Fireworks Night all about?

The conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, from a contemporary drawing

The conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, from a contemporary drawing

If you are anywhere in the UK tonight, you are probably either at a Bonfire Night party, a Guy Fawkes’ Night bash, or hearing the cracks and bangs and seeing the stars out of the window from other people’s celebrations.

The gunpowder plot, the failure of which is commemorated every 5th November, was an audacious plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November 1605.

It was the day of the State Opening of Parliament, and the plotters hoped to kill pretty much everyone involved in the government in one fell swoop – King James I, Members of Parliament, and the Lords Spiritual and Temporal (the House of Lords mob).

And now, 400 and more years later, it’s a big, annual event here, still. So this post will tell you all about the history of the gunpowder plot, and how its failure turned into the celebration of Guy Fawkes’ Night. The next post on this blog will be about the celebration of Bonfire Night to this very day.

Guy Fawkes' signature after torture

Guy Fawkes' signature after torture

As a poet wrote (in slightly doggerel form) at the time of the gunpowder plot:

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why  gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

The Gunpowder Plot

Led by Robert Catesby, a group of disgruntled Catholics, who had hoped the accession of James I would lead to greater religious toleration, and had been disappointed in their expectations, had a big idea.

They decided to blow up the government, kill the King at the same time, dispose of most of his family, kidnap his 9 year old daughter, Elizabeth, lead a country-wide rebellion based in the Midlands, and then put Elizabeth on the throne as Queen of England and Scotland.

Elizabeth of Bohemia, intended (by the gunpowder plotters) to be the next Queen of England

Elizabeth of Bohemia, intended (by the gunpowder plotters) to be the next Queen of England

Guy Fawkes was a Roman Catholic who had fought for the (Catholic) Spanish Empire for at least 10 years, known in Spain as Guido Fawkes. He had a lot of experience of blowing things up, and became the man in charge of the Gunpowder Plot attempt to blow up Parliament.

In May 1604, one of the plotters, Thomas Percy, rented rooms next to the House of Lords, intending to tunnel underneath the House and put gunpowder there. The plotters started their excavations, but a nasty outbreak of plague caused the State Opening of Parliament to be put back to 1605.

A cellar under the House of Lords became vacant, and Thomas Percy quickly grabbed the lease and rented it. Guy Fawkes then arranged for 36 barrels of gunpowder to be put in the cellar, covered with firewood (36 barrels of gunpowder blowing up in one go would cause a pretty impressive explosion, by all accounts).

By March 1605, the gunpowder was all in place, and the conspirators moved on to planning the rebellion.


How it all went wrong

As the State Opening drew closer, Guy Fawkes prepared to supervise the explosion, and the rest of the plotters made their way to the Midlands, to start the rebellion once Parliament had been blown to smithereens.

At least some of the plotters were worried about blowing up fellow-Catholics attending the event. At the end of October, an anonymous letter was sent to Lord Monteagle, a prominent Catholic, saying, retyre youre self into yowre contee whence yow maye expect the event in safti for … they shall receyve a terrible blowe this parleament (retire yourself into your county, where you may expect the event in safety, for… they shall receive a terrible blow this parliament).

Lord Monteagle, being a public-spirited sort of chap, brought the letter to the attention of  Robert Cecil, Secretary of State and Earl of Salisbury, who showed it to the King. A search of the Parliament was ordered, and in the early hours of the morning of the 5th November, D-Day, as it were, Thomas Knyvet arrested Guy Fawkes leaving the gunpowder cellar.

The aftermath, torture, and executions

The execution of Guy Fawkes, from a 17th century print. Showing all sorts of cheerful hanging, drawing and quartering

The execution of Guy Fawkes, from a 17th century print. Showing all sorts of cheerful hanging, drawing and quartering

Guy Fawkes gave a false name (Johnson) and was held in the Tower of London. He claimed he had been acting alone, and later under torture gave the names only of plotters already caught.

Torture was only allowed by Royal Warrant or by the order of the Star Chamber, but James I cheerfully gave his written orders for torture to be carried out, writing

“The gentler tortures are to be first used unto him, et sic per gradus ad maiora tenditur” (“and thus by steps extended to greater ones, in English”), “and so God speed your good work.”

The Midlands rebellion was attempted, but fizzled out.

The plotters were tried in Westminster Hall, part of the House of Parliament to this day, in a grand public event, on 27th January 1606.

With a certain judicial swiftness, the men were found guilty in the one-day trial, and executed on 30th January in St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London (4 men) and the rest, including Fawkes, were hanged drawn and quarted in Westminster on 31st January.

Fawkes managed to evade the really nasty bits of his punishment by jumping as he was hanged, so he wasn’t still alive to have his entrails removed and be chopped into bits.

James I gave a speech to Parliament a few days after the discovery of the plot, in which he described its failure as a miracle, and explained how it had confirmed his belief in the Divine Right of Kings.

It was that belief of the Stuart Kings which lead to all sorts of trouble later in the century, most notably, the regicide of King Charles II and the establishment of the Puritan Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell.

And this torture, trial and execution is generally and cheerfully celebrated yearly in England!


Trooping the Colour: the pagentry of the Queen’s official birthday

By , May 26, 2009 1:20 am

What is Trooping the Colour?

The Welsh Guards standing to attention during the Queen's inspection of her troops

The Welsh Guards standing to attention during the Queen's inspection of her troops

Trooping the Colour is an event held on one of the first three Saturdays in June every year in London to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday.

The Colour in question is the Colours of a regiment. This was the flag of a regiment which was held at the centre of a regiment while they were fighting.

The Colours were trooped in front of the soldiers of the regiment everyday, to make sure that in battle individual soldiers were sure which their regiment was.

The Queen was actually born on the 21st April, her real birthday. Since the time of Edward VII, the Monarch has had an official birthday in June (in the hope that the British weather will be better in June than whenever an individual King or Queen happened to be born).

There are five Household Regiments, the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards; each takes its turn year by year.

The actual ceremony is a large one. Army regiments take it in turns to take part. Approximately 1400 officers and other ranks are on parade in the Trooping of the Colour, and 200 horses as well. The music is provided by approximately 400 musicians.

In 2009, the Trooping of the Colour the Queen’s Birthday Parade is on 13th June 2009, the Colonel’s Review is on Saturday June 6th, and the Major General’s Review on 30th May.

History of Trooping the Colour

The Massed Band, drawn from different regiments, shown at the June 2007 Trooping the Colour

The Massed Band, drawn from different regiments, shown at the June 2007 Trooping the Colour

Armies and regiments have had identifying symbols in the English army since early medieval times.

A standard bearer would hold the flag or symbol of the regiment near to the leader of it, for example, the “Sunne in Splendour” of the Yorkist troops during the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century.

The current ceremony of Trooping the Colour goes back to the time of King Charles II, in the 17th century. The foot guards in London, guarding the Sovereign and royal buildings, trooped their Colour daily from 1755 as part of their daily guard rituals.

The Trooping the Colour parade was held for the first time to celebrate the King’s birthday in 1805.

The embroidered regimental Colours now mark battles and engagements in which a regiment has fought, and in which men from the regiment have fallen for the country.

Each Regiment’s Own Colours

Guard holding the Colours

From 1751 infantry regiments have been allowed to carry two Colours, the King’s or Queen’s Colours and the regimental Colours.

At the Trooping of the Colour, the Colours paraded are the Queen’s Colours.

Apart from the Second King Edward VII’s Own Ghurkha Rifles, rifle regiments don’t carry Colours. Cavalry regiments carry either guidons or standards.

Before being used, the Colours are consecrated in a special church service, and when an individual set of Colours is retired, they are given an honourable retirement in public often church building.

What happens at the Trooping the Colour parade

Events begin at about 10 o’clock in the morning. The Queen, and other members of the royal family who attend in two mid Victorian horse drawn carriages parade from Buckingham Palace, along the Mall, to Horse Guard’s Parade and Whitehall.

The royal carriages arrive at precisely 11 o’clock, and the Royal Salute is offered to the Queen. Then comes the inspection of the line, when the Queen drives in her carriage down the ranks of all the guards and then pass the Household Cavalry.

The Queen inspecting her troops from her carriage, June 2007

The Queen inspecting her troops from her carriage, June 2007

The Queen’s royal horses, which she uses on ceremonial occasions, are kept at the Royal Mews, and she has about 30 of them.

In addition to driving the Queen around on ceremonial occasions, the horses are also used in other state processions and some represent Great Britain in national and international carriage driving competitions.

The Queen arrives at her post and dismounts from the carriage, standing to receive the Royal Salute as guards present arms and the assembled military band play the National Anthem.

As the Queen and other members of the royal family inspect the guards and the cavalry, the bands continue to play various patriotic and relevant tunes.

The Queen is accompanied not only by members of the royal family but her Master of the Horse, the Crown Equerry, the Equerries in Waiting, and the General Officer commanding the London district.

The Queen attending Trooping the Colour on horseback, riding side saddle, in 1986.

The Queen attending Trooping the Colour on horseback, riding side saddle, in 1986.

After inspecting all her troops the Queen arrives back at her platform and stays there for the rest of the ceremony.

After some marching about by the massed bands, the Escort for the Colour marches in quick time to the British Grenadier’s tune.

The Ensign for the Colour and the Regimental Sergeant Major salute the Colours and receive it from the Sergeant of the Colour party.

After the Regimental Sergeant Major has done his saluting, he receives the Colour, and the Ensign then salutes it, sheaths his sword, and puts the Colour in his Colour belt.

The Escort for the Colour is now the Escort to the Colour, as it is safely received, and the Escort marches in slow time through the ranks of the assembled guards, trooping it all of the ranks.

Each regiment of the Foot Guards then march in slow time along the parade ground. Led by the Escort to the Colour, who flourishes (lowers) the Colour as he passes the Queen, and raises it again afterwards. The band continue playing songs such as Men of Harlech.



The massed mounted bands of the Household Cavalry then have their turn of marching passed the saluting point.

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour

After all the marching passed has been done, the Queen gets in her carriage again and goes back down The Mall, leading her soldiers, to Buckingham Palace.

The parade ground markers march from Horse Guard’s Parade back to their barracks.

With the troops following, the Queen waits after she gets out of her carriage at the gates of Buckingham Palace and the whole parade marches passed her again and salutes.

All members of the royal family in attendance then go into Buckingham Palace and onto the balcony for an RAF flypast.

In Green Park, opposite Buckingham Palace, the King’s Troops, Royal Horse Artillery, fire a 41 gun salute.

The Royal Standard flies from Buckingham Palace, showing that the Queen is in residence.

From her accession to the throne in 1952 until 1987, the Queen attending the Trooping of the Colour riding in a side saddle. Since 1987, she has taken the Trooping of the Colour in a horse drawn carriage.

For more information about every march, twist and turn of the Guards, see this article. The official Army’s website about Trooping the Colour can be found here.




Bringing in the May

By , March 24, 2009 9:23 pm

May Day in Oxford

May Day celebrations in England have a rich and diverse history. Strands of the festivals come from different pagan, polytheistic, and Christian traditions, all of which became mixed together over the years.

Different parts of England, and the British Isles as a whole, focus on different traditions.

This article looks at some of the diverse origins of May Day festivities, the traditions which arose from them, and May Day celebration in two particular English towns, Padstow in Cornwall, and Oxford in Oxfordshire.

I hope that you too will enjoy Bringing in the May this spring! Read the full article here.



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