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Ceremonial Events

Ceremonial duties are an important part of Army history and tradition, and all soldiers undertaking this role are highly trained who also play an important part in military operations worldwide. Ceremonial events take place throughout the country, and indeed the world, but few are as high profile as those that draw millions of tourists to London year after year.

Important Notice

From the 16th January 2017 Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace now takes place on Mondays Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with all timings being earlier by thirty minutes. Windsor Castle Guard will stay at the same time, but will also only take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with musical support and without musical support on Sundays. Changes are reflected in February Guard duties list attached.

Mon 06 Feb 17: Accession Day Gun Salutes at Green park (1200) and The Tower of London (1300) to mark 65th Anniversary of the Accession of HM The Queen.

Tues 14 Feb 17: Household Division Concert Series at 7.00pm in the Guards' Chapel, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra. Free admission, retiring collection.

Fri 17 Feb 17: Royal Artillery Gold Cup: Celebrate the bravery and dedication of the British Armed Forces with a unique day out at the historic Royal Artillery Gold Cup Day at Sandown Park Racecourse, gates open at 1145. The feature race, the Royal Artillery Gold Cup, is one of Sandown Park’s oldest races having been first run at Sandown Park in 1878. It has been run at the racecourse every season since 1921.

Fri 17 Feb 17: Victoria Cross paving stone memorial in honour of Lance Sergeant Frederick Palmer (VC). The ceremony takes place at 11am at the Shepherds Bush war memorial on Shepherds Bush Green. Palmer won the Victoria Cross when he was 25, one of nine medals from a military career spanning both world wars. He had already won the Military Medal (MM) in Gallipoli in 1916. The VC was presented to Palmer – born in Hammersmith on 11 November 1891 – by King George V in Hyde Park.

Sun 19 Feb 17: Birthday of HRH The Duke of York.

Tues 28 Feb 17: Guards' Chapel Recital Series at 13:10hrs in the Guards' Chapel, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. Guards Brass Quintet. Free admission, retiring collection.

Tues 28 Feb 17: Ticket ballot closes for Trooping the Colour in June 2017. The postal ballot for tickets to attend The Parade is currently open and applications to attend the Parade in the seated stands should be sent in before the deadline date to:

The Brigade Major
Headquarters Household Division
Horse Guards
London SW1A 2AX

A summary of timings for the Changing the Guard ceremonies in London and Windsor.

The official birthday of the Sovereign is marked each year by a military parade and march-past, known as Trooping the Colour, which takes place each June on Horse Guards Parade, London.

On two successive evenings in June, London's Horse Guards Parade, resounds to the stirring sounds of the Massed Bands of the Household Division as they perform Beating Retreat.

The Household Cavalry and one of the Foot Guards Battalions provide a small contingent on the Sunday nearest to 11th November, the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War.

State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, in which the Household Division plays a major ceremonial role.

Each year the Sovereign drives in State to Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament and is accompanied by various elements of Household Division.

The Queen's Guard and Queen's Life Guard are the names given to contingents of soldiers charged with guarding the official royal residences in London.

The Queen's Life Guard is provided by men of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) at Horse Guards.

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