Where To Spot A British Royal
The royal calendar brims with fabulous events, creating opportunities to see royalty around the country. The event on everybody's lips currently is July's Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, 80 miles west from London. That's because the tickets are now on sale – and selling fast. The Royal Air Force is celebrating its centenary this year, so there's a strong chance that several royals will attend the Fairford tattoo from 13-15 July. Buy Royal International Air Tattoo 2018 tickets here, and read on below for all the major royal events this summer and autumn.
THE ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW: 9-13 May
This year marks the 75th anniversary of this extravaganza, in the private grounds of Windsor Castle. No one enjoys a horse show more than Her Majesty, who has attended every year since 1943 and usually walks among the crowds. Taking place a few days before Harry and Meghan’s wedding, this year’s show is sure to produce excitable crowds.
RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW: 22-26 May
Each year the royal family attends this highlight of the Royal Horticultural Society’s calendar, which takes place in the grounds of London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea. In 2017 the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Duchess of Cambridge were all in attendance.
BEATING RETREAT: 6-7 June
A chance to witness the full military clout of the Queen’s personal troops, the Household Division’s annual show combines music, regimental drills, cannons and fireworks. Beating Retreat forms a part of the Queen’s official birthday celebrations and the salute is always taken by a member of the royal family. It takes place across two evenings on London’s Horse Guards Parade, and commemorates the 400-year-old military practice of beating drums to call troops back from battle to the safety of camp at nightfall. In terms of sheer spectacle, there are few dates in the British royal calendar to rival this impressive display of military might. Beating Retreat is a ticketed event, so we advise you to book online as soon as possible.
TROOPING THE COLOUR: 9 June
Yes, there are few royal occasions to match the drama of Beating Retreat but, luckily for those visiting in June, just two days later the Household Division coordinates another extravaganza. Also taking place on Horse Guards Parade, Trooping the Colour is the Queen’s birthday parade. The key elements to this daytime ceremony are the regimental flags, known in the British Army as ‘Colours’, which are paraded from Buckingham Palace to Whitehall and back by more than 1,400 officers and men, 200 horses and 400 musicians. The ceremony culminates with Royal Air Force fighter jets flying down The Mall and directly over Buckingham Palace, witnessed by the majority of the royal family as they step out on to that famous balcony.
There is no need for tickets – Trooping the Colour spectators can simply pick a spot along The Mall or in St James’s Park from 9am on the day. The parade, which includes the Queen travelling by carriage, begins at 10am and finishes at 12.30pm. It is also worth noting that the Colonel’s Review takes place exactly one week before Trooping the Colour, on Saturday 2 June. This event is almost identical, but neither the royal family nor the Royal Air Force take part. It’s like a grand dress rehearsal for the Queen’s big day, following the same timings. Tickets are available for seats on Horse Guards Parade.
ROYAL ASCOT: 19-23 June
Among this annual explosion of tremendous hats, keep an eye out for the Queen, who is usually in attendance. The horse-racing festival can be reached in less than an hour by train from Waterloo. In 2017, other members of the royal family attending included Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate and Princesses Anne, Beatrice and Eugenie – who is set to marry Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle on 12 October. Expect a daily Royal Procession, a famously strict dress code and, of course, enough horse-racing action to ensure that Her Majesty is firmly amused. An array of the nation’s best-loved chefs traditionally attend the Royal Meeting too, together running a mind-boggling array of fine dining restaurants across the site. Make sure you book ahead for this quintessentially British event.
WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS: 2-15 July
In 2016, the Queen passed on her patronage of some organisations to other members of the royal family, including the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon. You’re unlikely to see her at this famous tennis tournament, but the Duchess of Cambridge will attend.
THE ROYAL INTERNATIONAL AIR TATTOO: 13-15 July
The royal family loves a tattoo – we’re talking about the very British definition, of course: an entertaining combination of music and military displays.
THE STATE ROOMS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: 21 July–30 September
If you’re staying for a long time or returning to London, then you’ll be thrilled to hear that Buckingham Palace is about to open its State Rooms to the public once again. That’s right: you can buy a ticket and step inside Buckingham Palace. We can’t promise that you’ll stumble upon Her Majesty nibbling a crumpet with a corgi on her knee (in fact, the Queen will be enjoying her summer holiday at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle), but these historic rooms are nevertheless magnificent. Highlights include the Ballroom, which is the largest of the State Rooms and used for state banquets, while the Throne Room contains the chairs used for the coronation of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as those used by their predecessors, King George VI and Queen Victoria. Finally, you’ll end the tour in the palace’s sweeping gardens, which will linger long in your memory. This year, you’ll also discover an exhibition of more than 100 works of art, curated by the Prince of Wales to celebrate his 70th birthday. Called Prince and Patron, you can expect a mixture of Charles’ Royal Collection favourites and newest creations by young, emerging artists.
THE BRAEMAR GATHERING: 1 September
In the heart of Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, you’ll find the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in Braemar. Boasting a 900-year history, this event sees the Braemar Royal Highland Society gather to celebrate the Queen as its Chieftan.
THE WEDDING OF PRINCESS EUGENIE AND JACK BROOKSBANK: 12 October
Hot on the heels of her cousin Harry comes Eugenie, ninth in line to the throne. The couple will also marry at St George’s Chapel next to Windsor Castle, with family in attendance.
Visit www.royal.uk/future-engagements, a database of official engagements being undertaken by members of the royal family. It’s updated up to eight weeks in advance and you can even use the filter to find your favourite royals.
William, George and Kate at The Royal International Air Tattoo © Air Tattoo Photos; Harry, Kate and William at Chelsea Flower Show © RHS; Trooping the Colour © MOD 2017 Crown Copyright; Kate at Wimbledon © AELTC/Bob Martin; George and William at The Royal International Air Tattoo © Air Tattoo Photos