The Royal Family’s calendar bursts at its golden seams with fabulous events. June is the monarch’s official birthday month (Elizabeth II’s real birthday was on 21 April), so it’s traditionally a busy time of year for HRH. Here are the key royal events to keep in mind over the coming weeks.
Beating Retreat: 6—7 June
A chance to witness the full military clout of the Queen’s personal troops, the Household Division’s annual show combines music, regimental drills, cannons and fireworks. Beating Retreat forms a part of the Queen’s official birthday celebrations, and the salute is always taken by a member of the Royal Family. It takes place across two evenings on London’s Horse Guards Parade, commemorating the 400-year-old military practice of beating drums to call troops back from battle at nightfall.
Order tickets online as soon as possible.
Trooping the Colour: 9 June
Just two days after Beating Retreat, the Household Division coordinates another extravaganza. Also taking place on Horse Guards Parade, Trooping the Colour is the Queen’s birthday parade. The key elements to this daytime ceremony are the regimental flags, known in the British Army as "Colours," which are paraded from Buckingham Palace to Whitehall and back by over 1,400 officers and men, 200 horses and 400 musicians. The ceremony culminates with Royal Air Force fighter jets flying down The Mall and directly over Buckingham Palace, witnessed by the majority of the Royal Family as they step out onto that famous balcony.
If you were too late for Beating Retreat tickets, you’ll be pleased to hear that Trooping the Colour spectators may simply pick a spot along The Mall or St James’s Park from 9 am on the day. The parade, which includes the Queen travelling by carriage, begins at 10 am and finishes at 12.30 pm.
Royal Ascot: 19—23 June
This annual explosion of tremendous hats is another opportunity to spot a royal. The Queen, an exceptionally keen racing fan and owner, usually attends each day of this horseracing festival. In 2017, other members of the Royal Family in attendance included Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate and Princesses Anne, Beatrice and Eugenie—who is set to marry Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle on 12 October.
Expect a daily Royal Procession, a famously strict dress code and, of course, enough horseracing action to ensure that Her Majesty is firmly amused. An array of the nation’s best-loved chefs traditionally attend the Royal Meeting too, together running a mind-boggling array of fine dining restaurants across the site.
Be sure to book ahead for this quintessentially British event. You can reach in less than an hour by train from Waterloo Station.
The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace: 21 July—30 September
Buckingham Palace opens its State Rooms to the public for its usual annual opening. You won’t stumble upon Her Majesty nibbling a crumpet with a corgi on her lap, but these historic rooms are nevertheless magnificent.
Highlights include the Ballroom, the largest of the State Rooms and used for State Banquets, while the Throne Room contains the chairs used for the coronation of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
This year, you’ll also discover an exhibition of over 100 artworks curated by The Prince of Wales, to celebrate his 70th birthday. Called "Prince and Patron," expect a mixture of Charles’s Royal Collection favourites plus creations by young, emerging artists. End the tour in the palace’s sweeping gardens will linger long in the memory. Booking online is advisable.