Mounted Band in the Kings procession practicing for the coronation
Mounted Band in the Kings procession practicing for the coronation

London. 06 May 2023. With the eyes of the world on London, the British Army will play a key role in two ceremonial processions today, accompanying The King and Queen Consort from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and back.

The first, The King’s Procession, is the smaller in scale of the two and will feature just under 200 troops, centred around The Sovereign’s Escort of The Household Cavalry. Travelling down The Mall to Trafalgar Square, where they will turn onto Whitehall before marching to Westminster Abbey, the Procession will cover 1.42 miles. Flanking them will be over 1,000 street liners from all three Armed Forces services.

The larger Coronation Procession will follow the same route back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey. Featuring over 4,000 Armed Forces personnel from across the UK and the Commonwealth, this will be the largest military procession in London for 70 years. The Coronation Procession will represent the diversity and traditions of the UK and Commonwealth Armed Forces. Nearly 400 Armed Forces personnel from 40 Commonwealth countries and overseas territories will be on parade to mark the historic moment. The Army has been supporting Coronations for a thousand years in this country, so we’ve got plenty of precedence. It is a part of that history and the King is their Colonel-in-Chief.

A full-spectrum display of unique and historic uniforms whose designs are in some cases hundreds of years old, flags from across the Commonwealth and 20 different bands – all marching in exact rhythm – will demonstrate the very best of the Armed Forces. Personnel from all regiments of the British Army, and from across the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, will form up into eight processional groups.

The Armed Forces processional groups will lead Their Majesties, who will travel in the Gold State Coach, back to Buckingham Palace after the Coronation service at Westminster Abbey. The proximity of each military cohort to the Gold State Coach relates to its seniority. Closest to the Gold State Coach will be The Household Division, next closest will be the Royal Navy cohort, followed by the Army cohort and finally, furthest away, the RAF cohort.

At Buckingham Palace, the troops will give a Royal Salute to the newly anointed King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The Army contingent of the Coronation Procession will see regiments and corps parade in accordance with the British Army’s Order of Precedence which ranks regiments by seniority.

The Household Cavalry is always listed first and always parades at the extreme right of the line. However, when the Royal Artillery is on parade with its guns, usually in the form of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, it will take precedence over the Household Cavalry.

This is what will happen today when the Coronation Procession will be led by the Brigade Major, Household Division, and his Retinue. Immediately behind the Brigade Major will be the Household troops of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Next will follow the Commonwealth and overseas territories contingent with musical accompaniment provided by the Massed Pipes and Drums and flanked by 110 flag bearers carrying the Commonwealth flags. The RAF contingent will be next in the Order of Procession, followed by the Army.

The Army’s contingent will be led by Head Arms and Services, Brigadier Alex Potts. At the front of this procession will be the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), led by Colonel RAC, Colonel Paddy Williams. The RAC cohort will be made up of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, Queen’s Royal Hussars, Royal Dragoon Guards, King’s Royal Hussars, Royal Lancers, Royal Tank Regiment, Light Dragoons, Royal Wessex Yeomanry, Royal Yeomanry, Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, Queen’s Own Yeomanry and the Corps Sergeant Major.

The British Army Band Tidworth and British Army Band Catterick will provide musical accompaniment to this part of the procession. The next marching contingent will be the Army’s Corps and Infantry, led by Colonel Infantry, Colonel Peter MacMullen.

This cohort will be made up of The Royal Regiment of Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Corps of Signals, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Royal Anglian Regiment, The Royal Yorkshire Regiment, Mercian Regiment, Royal Welsh, Royal Irish Regiment, Parachute Regiment, Royal Gurkha Rifles, Rifles and the Corps Sergeant Majors. The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Highland Band and The Lowland Band will provide musical accompaniment to this cohort.

The final procession group of the Army will be led by Colonel Army Air Corps, Colonel Julian Facer. Marching in this group will be the Army Air Corps, Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Adjutant General’s Corps, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Small Arms School Corps, Royal Army Dental Corps, Intelligence Corps, Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The Band of The Rifles and The Brigade Gurkhas will provide musical support to this group. The Royal Navy contingent will follow the Army. Finally, bringing up the rear will be The Household Procession led by the Massed Bands of the Household Division. Behind the Massed Bands will be the Household Division made up of the five Foot Guards Regiments – Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards – followed by the two regiments of the Household Cavalry, The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals. The Household Procession will be led by Commander Foot Guards, Colonel Guy Stone.

The remainder of The Household Procession will be comprised of dismounted elements from the Household Cavalry, the Major General’s Retinue, 1st Division of the Sovereign’s Escort Household Cavalry and the 2nd Division of the Sovereign’s Escort. The Gold State Coach will be flanked by Watermen and Yeomen, representatives of the Armed Forces of the Realms, Gold Stick, Standard Party, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the 3rd Division of the Sovereign’s Escort. The Carriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Carriage of the Duke of Edinburgh will follow the Gold State Coach.

The Princess Royal will ride on horseback behind the Gold State Coach back to Buckingham Palace as Colonel of the Blues and Royals, and Senior Colonel of all The Household Division Regiments. Soldiers have flown home from operational duties or training exercises across the globe to represent their regiments and corps during today’s spectacular processions.  For example, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards have returned from training in Kenya while the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards have returned from Operation Shader in Iraq.

Courtesy : British Army