Watch the Household Division’s Beating Retreat for a uniquely British spectacle featuring the Queen’s Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry on Horse Guards Parade.
Always performed on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings preceding the Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) in June, it is a sunset pageant of precision drill, horses, cannons and fireworks, all accompanied by music from around 300 musicians from the Massed Bands of the Household Division. On at least one evening, the Queen or a senior member of the British Royal Family usually attends and takes the salute.
Beating Retreat refers to a military drum call that can trace its origins to 17th-century England and was first used to recall nearby units to their camp for the night. Over the centuries that followed it developed into a musical ceremonial event that is practised throughout the Commonwealth, but it is at its most spectacular in the magnificent surroundings of Horse Guards Parade in Central London.