A mascot named Seamus and a symphony of music accompanied the Irish Guards as they prepared to mark the Queen’s official birthday.
They were taking part in the final rehearsal before Trooping the Colour on June 2, which is known as The Brigade Major’s Review.
Trooping the Colour gets it name from a tradition dating back to the 1700s, in which different regiments would show off their flags, so troops would recognise their banners during battle.
In 1748, King George II combined the annual summer military march with his birthday celebration, despite being born in October.
This tradition has lasted over the course of time, with the Queen taking part in birthday celebrations in June each year, which is known as Trooping the Colour and marks her official birthday, as well as on April 21 – the day she was actually born.
Bagpipes were played by soldiers – who either wore green blazers and berets, and light brown kilts, or red tartan kilts, white boots and black blazers – as well as instruments including drums and trumpets.
Irish wolfhound Turlough Mor, known as Seamus – the official regimental mascot of the Irish Guards – was also at the practice, and drummer Adam Walsh, who is Seamus’ handler, told the PA news agency that “it’s a real privilege” to be part of Trooping the Colour.
“When it comes to the day, it’s all going to pay off. A lot of the lads have bigger parts to play than me and Seamus, but me and him still need to get it all correct,” he added.
Mr Walsh has had Seamus for just under two weeks and said that the Irish wolfhound celebrated his second birthday last week.
He said he has “never met a dog like Seamus” as “not much phases him at all”.
“He’s not nervous. I’m the one who’s nervous, so he’s going to be the one who keeps me on track.”
John Major Paul Carson said that he is feeling “very, very excited” for Trooping the Colour, as he stood in state dress consisting of a gold jacket adorned with badges.
“The reason we wear this is whenever there’s a royal parade or a royal anniversary,” he said.
He added: “[Trooping the Colour] is for me, personally, our way of saying happy birthday to Her Majesty, along with all of the music that goes on, the marching troops, it’s her way to see that her troops – the guards – are still where they should be.”
The horse-drawn carriage set to transport the Queen down the Mall also made an appearance, as well as one of Her Majesty’s favourite animals – horses – who galloped around Whitehall in anticipation of Jubilee celebrations in June.
The soldiers and officers who attended the Brigade Major’s Review did not wear their full ceremonial uniform, and instead opted for a khaki uniform.
However, they are set to wear their colour – an embroidered silk and gold flag, emblazoned with their battle honours – on June 2.