The trooping of the colour
The changing of the
The Queen’s telegram
opening of parliament
The Order of
the Garter Ceremony
Queen’s Christmas speech
The trooping of
The Queen is the only person in Britain with two birthdays.
Her real birthday is on April 21st, but she has an "official" birthday,
too. That's on the second Saturday in June. And on the Queen's official
birthday, there is a traditional ceremony called the Trooping of the
Colour. It's a big parade with brass bands and hundreds of soldiers at
Horse Guards' Parade in London. A "regiment" of the Queen's soldiers,
the Guards, march in front of her. At the front of the parade is the
regiment's flag or "colour".
The Guards are trooping the colour. Thousands of Londoners and visitors
watch in Horse Guards' Parade. And millions of people at home watch it
changing of the guard
This happens every day at Buckingham Palace, the Queen's home in
London. Soldiers stand in front of the palace. Each morning these
soldiers (the "guard") change. One group leaves and another arrives. In
summer and winter tourists stand outside the palace at 11.30 every
morning and watch the Changing of the Guard.
Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday, at Easter. On that day
the Queen gives Maundy money to a group of old people. This tradition
is over 1,000 years old. At one time the king or queen washed the feet
of poor, old people on Maundy Thursday. That stopped in 1754.
Here's a very different royal tradition. On the River Thames there are
hundreds of swans. A lot of these beautiful white birds belong,
traditionally, to the king or queen. In July the young swans on the
Thames are about two months old. Then the Queen's swan keeper goes, in
a boat, from London Bridge to Henley. He looks at all the young swans
and marks the royal ones. The name of this strange but interesting
custom is Swan Upping.
This custom is not very old, but it's for very old people. On his or
her one hundredth birthday, a British person gets a telegram from the
state opening of parliament
Parliament, not the Royal Family, controls modern Britain. But
traditionally the Queen opens Parliament every autumn. She travels from
Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a gold carriage - the
Irish State Coach. At the Houses of Parliament the Queen sits on a
“throne” in the House of Lords. Then she reads the
“Queen's Speech”. At State Opening of Parliament
the Queen wears a crown. She wears other jewels from the Crown Jewels,
Order of the Garter Ceremony
The Order of the Garter ceremony has a long history. King Edward III
started the Order in the fourteenth century, that time, the people in
the Order were the twenty-four bravest knights in England. Now the
knights of the Order aren't all soldiers. They're members of the House
of Lords, church leaders or politicians. There are some foreign
knights, too. For example, the King of Norway, the Grand Duke of
Luxembourg and the Emperor of Japan. They're called Extra Knights of
the Garter. The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order of the Garter. But
she isn't the only royal person in the Order. Prince Charles and Prince
Philip are Royal Knights, and the Queen Mother is a Lady of the Garter.
In June the Order has a traditional ceremony at Windsor Castle. This is
the Queen's favourite castle. It's also the home of the Order - the
Garter. All the knights walk from the castle to St. George's Chapel. The
royal church at Windsor. They wear the traditional "robes" of the
Order. These robes are verv heavy. In fact King Edward VIII once called
them "ridiculous". But they're an important part of one ot Britain's
Queen’s Christmas speech
Now here's a modern royal custom. On Christmas Day at 3.00 in the
afternoon the Queen makes a speech on radio and TV. It's ten minutes
long. In it she talks to the people of the United Kingdom and the
Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a large group of countries. In the
past they were all in the British Empire. Australia, India, Canada and
New Zealand are among the 49 members.
The B.B.C. (the British Broadcasting Corporation) sends the Queen's
speech to every Commonwealth country. In her speech the Queen talks
about the past year. Traditionallv in speeches, kings or queens say
“we” not “I”. Queen
Elizabeth II doesn't do this. She says “My husband and
I” or just “I”.
The Queen doesn't make her speech on Christmas Day. She films it a few
weeks before. Then she spends Christmas with her family at Windsor.
Does she watch the speech on TV? Nobody knows.