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LONDON, ENGLAND, March 19, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- At midday on Monday 22nd April, a 41-gun salute will sound out across Hyde Park to commemorate the 87th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. A spectacular show of pomp and ceremony, the Queen's Birthday Gun Salutes marks the only time horses can perform a full gallop in Hyde Park - with a ton and a half of cannon in tow. Along with other uniquely British traditions such as Trooping the Colour, Changing of the Guard and the Ceremony of the Keys, the Birthday Gun Salutes attract thousands of visitors to the capital every year.
Taking place on Her Majesty's actual birthday, the Birthday Gun Salutes is carried out by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, who will ride into the park from the north by Marble Arch, line up abreast and gallop down the parade ground before coming to rest roughly opposite the Dorchester Hotel. The Troop arrives around 11:45am, 15 minutes after the band enters the park and 15 minutes before the guns are fired. Also at midday, there is a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London and a 21-gun salute in Windsor Great Park.
Two months later on the Queen's 'official' birthday on Saturday 15th June, the ceremonial event of the year takes place with the world-famous Trooping the Colour in Horse Guards Parade - last seen hosting scantily-clad beach volleyball players during the London 2012 Olympics. The tradition dates back to the 18th century and sees the Queen receive the royal salute as she inspects the troops. A performance from various bands is followed by the Colours (flags) of the battalion being carried (Trooped) past soldiers in a procession to Buckingham Palace. The Royal Air Force then performs a fly-by while guns sound out at the Tower of London. Travellers arriving from outside London to watch either of the Queen's birthday parties can conveniently book their accommodation on LondonTown.com, where there's a wide range of Hotels in London available to suit all budgets.
Other notable annual traditional events in London include the State Opening of Parliament, which features peers and bishops in traditional robes, a royal procession involving the State Coach, and the Queen's Speech from the throne in the House of Lords. The next State Opening takes place on Wednesday 8th May 2013 (prior to 2012 it used to take place in October or November) and will, of course, see the Queen's Messenger 'Black Rod' star in a peculiar door-slamming skit before calling the 250 members of the House of Commons to the House of Lords. Towards the end of the year, in early November just days after Bonfire Night, river barges piled high with explosives are the central focus of the annual Lord Mayor's Show following a huge parade around the City from Guildhall to Mansion House, via St Paul's Cathedral, the Royal Courts of Justice and Victoria Embankment.
Daily ceremonies in London take place at the Tower of London, with the Ceremony of the Keys at 9:53pm every night, and at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle with the Changing of the Guard - the epitome of London's surviving pageantry. From April to July, the Changing of the Guard - which sees the exchanging duties between Guardsmen wearing traditional red military jackets and bearskin caps - takes place daily at both locations, while during the winter the ceremony takes place on alternative days at each venue. These and other royal annual quirks and celebrations of pomp are covered in LondonTown.com's comprehensive online guide to London's Ceremonies and Traditions.
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