Although Her Majesty The Queen’s 93rd birthday falls on Easter Sunday, 21st April, in keeping with tradition, where Gun Salutes are never fired on a Sunday, the Birthday Salute will be performed by Regular and Reserve soldiers on Easter Monday, the 22nd April, in London at two visually spectacular events.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, wearing immaculately presented full dress uniform, will provide a colourful sight when they ride their horses and gun carriages past Buckingham Palace en route to Hyde Park to stage a 41 Gun Royal Salute.
The soldiers, horses and Guns of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride out from their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks at approximately 11am and make their way up Birdcage Walk, past the Queen Victoria Memorial, up Constitution Hill and into Hyde Park. The Guns are the Regiment’s colours and so are afforded due respect throughout the route. Before their arrival in Hyde Park, the Band of the Royal Artillery will play a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position. 71 horses pulling six First World War 13 pounder Field Guns will then dramatically come into action from the Marble Arch end of the Park to place the guns into position for the Royal Salute halfway down Park Lane. On the word of command each of the six guns will fire blank artillery rounds at ten-second intervals until forty-one shots have been fired. The horses and riders will then collect the guns and escort them back to Wellington Barracks in Birdcage Walk.
Then just after midday, the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), the City of London’s Reserve Army Regiment, in ceremonial attire, will leave their barracks at Armoury House and drive through the City in their liveried Pinzgauer vehicles with an escort to the Tower of London. The Guns are the Regiment’s colours and so will be afforded due respect throughout the route. When the Guns arrive at the Tower, they will be placed into position, on the riverbank, overlooking HMS Belfast. The three L118 Ceremonial Light Guns, similar to those used operationally in recent years in Afghanistan, will be used to fire a 62-gun salute across the Thames at ten second intervals.
Whilst a Royal Salute normally comprises 21 guns, this is increased to 41 if fired from a Royal Park or Residence. Uniquely, at The Tower of London which is a Royal Residence, a total of 62 rounds are fired on Royal anniversaries as this also includes an additional 21 guns for the citizens of the City of London to show their loyalty to the Monarch.
On Her Majesty’s Birthday on Sunday, the Irish Guards band will play Happy Birthday on the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace as part of the ceremony of Changing of the Guard.