News story

Armed Forces support State Opening of Parliament

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

More than 1,000 members of the Armed Forces played a role in the State Opening of Parliament yesterday, 8 May, as crowds lined the streets.

The Queen's carriage followed by members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment arrives at the Houses of Parliament [Picture: Sergeant Adrian Harlen, Crown copyright]
The Queen's carriage arrives at the Houses of Parliament

In total 1,290 Armed Forces personnel were on show performing a variety of ceremonial roles – including guards and musicians.

For many of the personnel involved, it was a unique event - their first or last chance to take part in what is one of the most colourful events in the London ceremonial calendar. As such there was an undeniable air of pride.

The Army’s Household Division, and other elements of the Armed Forces, had the privilege of lining the streets and escorting the Queen’s procession from Buckingham Palace to the House of Lords.

Her Majesty The Queen
Her Majesty The Queen en route to the Houses of Parliament [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Tommy Axford, Crown copyright]

Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards and Welsh Guards stood along the route of the procession, while the Queen’s carriage was escorted by members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

Musical accompaniment was provided by the Royal Artillery Band, the Band of the Grenadier Guards, the Band of the Coldstream Guards, the Band of the Scots Guards, the Band of the Irish Guards, the Band of the Welsh Guards and the Band of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Many of the units taking part in the event had been involved in the London 2012 Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Baroness Thatcher’s funeral and various deployments to Afghanistan.

Members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment provided the Queen's escort [Picture: Sergeant Adrian Harlen, Crown copyright]

The General Officer Commanding London District, Major General George Norton, commanded the military part of the parade, involving all three Services.

As the Queen reached the House of Lords, a 41-gun salute was fired by members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, supported by the Royal Artillery Band, in Green Park.

A further 41-gun salute was be fired at midday at the Tower of London by the Army’s oldest regiment, the Honourable Artillery Company, which is part of the Territorial Army.

Members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing a gun
The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun salute as the Queen reached the House of Lords [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Stewart Paterson, Crown copyright]

After the Queen’s procession returned to Buckingham Palace, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery marched past Her Majesty, followed by the Sovereign’s Escort and Regalia Escort, formed by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, and a Guard of Honour provided by members of the Grenadier Guards and the Welsh Guards.

Also taking part, in addition to the Army units, were 4 half-companies of the Royal Air Force and 4 half-companies of the Royal Navy.

Grenadier Guards and members of the Royal Air Force
Grenadier Guards marching ahead of a half-company of the Royal Air Force [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Tommy Axford, Crown copyright]
The Band of the Scots Guards
The Band of the Scots Guards marching down The Mall [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Tommy Axford, Crown copyright]
Soldiers of the Blues and Royals
Soldiers of the Blues and Royals leaving Buckingham Palace [Picture: Sergeant Jez Doak, Crown copyright]
Soldiers of the Blues and Royals
Soldiers of the Blues and Royals on parade in The Mall [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Tommy Axford, Crown copyright]
Members of the Royal Air Force Regiment
Members of the Royal Air Force Regiment lining the route [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Tommy Axford, Crown copyright]
Published 9 May 2013