Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Queen's Birthday Gun Salute

I have just got back from a great weekend in London which happened to coincide with HM Queen Elizabeth II's 86th birthday. Yesterday at 12 noon sharp in Hyde Park the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery were there to fire the Queen's 21 gun birthday salute.  It was an amazing sight.  I got there just in time to see - and hear - it all!  

The sign advising of the event on the Parade Ground.
First the smoke appears.

Then an almighty boom when the shell fires!

The horses were kept several hundred 
metres back from the firing line - they hardly 
flinched at the noise!

After the gun salute was fired the horses all galloped up to the guns to hook them up and take them back to barracks - the thunder of hooves was amazing to hear - I did video it but I haven't been able to download the video just yet.  But now I know what the famous Charge of the Light Brigade may have sounded like.

The King's Troop were accompanied by their Band and the music they played was really good.  The final piece was one called Arnhem and it was lovely.  After the salute was over the crowds followed the Band to the exit at Hyde Park and they were given a round of applause.  Then they packed up ready to go home.
This jolly musician happily posed for me.

This was the Officer conducting the 
Band - it was his final performance :-(

I managed to snap his medals....
Left: Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal
Right: Long Service Good Conduct Medal.

... and this beautifully embroidered little pack 
on his back sash.  No idea of the technical term.
Update  - Apparently it is a cartridge holder.

The Band packs up.
Time to pose with a tourist who 
borrowed the fur hat LOL!
Then to my delight the horses caught up 
with the Band and I was able to get some really
good close ups! 
Here the Officer leading his men (and women)
on a HUGE bay horse.
Some of the horses pulling the gun carriages
have no riders.
Another Officer with his white plumed hat.
One of the guns and carriage.
The riders bringing up the rear.
Fabulous detail on the uniform - very like 
Hermes' Brandebourgs.  I'm a sucker for this 
type of braiding too!
Brandebourgs 70cm.
Finally the Police Mounted Escort made sure 
the  KTRHA exited the park safely.   At least 
this horse was properly kitted out for the rain 
too with his rider's huge coat train!

I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post, but I was so thrilled to see this and it is one of those ceremonial events that Britain does so well.


  1. I love the braid detail and the plumed headgear.

    The pack on the back so unexpected, and the smiles on their faces.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. You're welcome Margaret. it was a really great occasion - the Band members were a lot more jolly than the riders - they were very serious - I think they may be told to keep a straight face! The uniforms were amazing to see close up although some of the riders' uniforms were spattered in mud as the ground was soggy where they were galloping!! SA:-)

  2. Gorgeous Officers! And Brandebourgs 70 should be indeed a perfect choice for occasion! Thanks for sharing these pics!

  3. Thank you and you are welcome Iris! SA:-)