There are few things the English enjoy more than a good dose of pomp and circumstance (save, perhaps, for tea, Shakespeare, talking about the weather or an especially orderly queue). Living in Cambridge and working in Westminster (where it seems there is a royal visit every other week), I am certainly no stranger to such ceremony, but there is no finer display than the annual Queen’s Birthday Parade (or Trooping the Colour, as it is more commonly known).
Every year since the 17th century, the Household Cavalries and 400 musicians of the mounted bands march on Horseguard’s Parade in Westminster for an explosion of military regalia as Her Majesty looks on and receives the royal salute. For those not familiar with this very British tradition, think along the lines of the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace (and if you have never watched this, you simply must do so next time you find yourself in London) and multiply that by 100.
I am lucky enough to be given parliamentary tickets, and it is becoming one of my very favourite annual traditions here. It’s a great thrill in itself to get dressed up and head to Westminster on a Saturday morning (because I work there, I generally avoid the tourists descending on the area at all other times), but I especially love witnessing the procession of royals, dignitaries and aristocrats filing past Downing Street in their top hats and morning coats to take their seats before The Queen arrives.
An event with Her Majesty and just about every dignitary in London does throw up quite the sartorial challenge (one can’t just turn up in any old thing…). Though I wouldn’t say no to one of those dashing scarlet braided military jackets (or a shiny pony), in my book, the perfect little black dress, some red lipstick, a good pair of heels and the right attitude can take you to almost any occasion. So I pulled on my favourite ruffled RED Valentino cocktail dress, hopped on the train to Trafalgar Square and skipped down Whitehall with the Clever Boyfriend towards Horseguards Parade to be a part of the spectacle.
After all, I couldn’t think of anything more wonderfully English than putting on a cocktail dress and pearls and spending the morning with Her Majesty and her scarlet-coated cavalries.
Wearing: RED Valentino dress (past season, but similar styles here and here), Chanel 2.55 bag, Mulberry bow heels (past season, but similar styles here and here), Michael Kors rose gold watch (also available here), Marc Jacobs ‘Stam’ bag chain (worn as belt), Jersey Pearl necklace (similar style here), Jimmy Choo sunglasses.
I’d love to hear how you all play tourist in your own town! Do you have any favourite London traditions?
Love, Miss B xx
*Photos of me thanks to the lovely Annabel Moeller