Surprisingly, some of our most popular content here is about Royal events. For the past few years, our guides on the summer garden parties have been really popular! We have had requests to compile more opportunities where you can participate in Royal events and ceremonies. So, we’re pleased to share this list of some of the big ones to plan for.
Royal Events and Ceremonies: annual events you can take part in!
The British monarchy is steeped in history and tradition. Numerous royal events and ceremonies take place throughout the year. These events, some of which are open to the public, offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of royalty. Here’s a summary of some of the most significant annual events hosted in England month to month.
January: New Year’s Honours List
The New Year’s Honours List is an annual event where The King recognises the achievements and service of people across the UK. The list is published in the official newspaper of the Crown, The Gazette.
There are events that surround this special occasion. Keep an eye on your local news and Royal sites for more. You can also nominate for the awards. More information is here.
April: Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday is the day The King distributes special Maundy money to local pensioners in a UK cathedral or abbey. This day, considered the fifth in the Holy Easter week, recognises people for their service to their community and the church.
In 2023, the Evening Standard published an informative piece about this lesser-known – yet historical – of annual events. Read more here.
April: ANZAC Day
One for my fellow Aussies and New Zealanders. On ANZAC Day (and my birthday!), we remember those who defended our nations far across the sea, but never came home. ANZAC stands for Australian & New Zealand Army Corp.
When we lived in London a few years ago, we heard about an invite-only service at Westminster Abbey that expats can attend. But, you must apply to be considered. Members of the Royal household and other special dignitaries attend. Keep an eye out here on the embassy website for a chance to apply for the coming year.
May: The RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Amazing garden designs, gorgeous floral displays, exclusive shopping and Royal appearances! May marks the start of the spring-summer season in the UK, and this is a great way to celebrate. Find out more here.
June: Trooping the Colour
Also known as The King’s Birthday Parade, Trooping the Colour is a spectacular ceremony that regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies perform. This official State occasion, held on the second Saturday in June in London, marks the official birthday of the British sovereign.
It is always a wonderful spectacle on the ground and in the skies. Thousands of people turn out to attend and line the streets around Buckingham Palace. Anyone can attend, but arrive early to secure a great spot.
June: Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot, held in the third week of June, is a major event in the British social calendar. Each day begins with The Royal Procession, where The King and members of his family arrive in horse-drawn landaus. The Royal Enclosure is at the heart of Royal Ascot, with strict dress codes and exclusive entry requirements.
More information on tickets and dress code can be found on Visit Britain’s site here.
June: Garter Day
Garter Day is a procession and service held each year at Windsor Castle for the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a chivalric order founded by Edward III. The Order is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, and their motto is ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’ (shame on him who thinks this evil). The ceremony takes place on the Monday of Royal Ascot week.
Visit Royal.uk to find out more about the fascinating history of this day and the procession that takes place.
June: Beating the Retreat
Beating the Retreat is a military ceremony, traditionally performed at the end of the day during times of war. Today, it takes place at Horse Guards Parade for two nights in June each year. The event features military music and precision drills. The Mounted Bands of the Household Cavalry and the Massed Bands of the Household Division put on quit a show!
Beating the Retreat is a ticketed event. The Household Division’s website publishes details on tickets each year.
July: Buckingham Palace Summer Opening
Every summer, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace open to the public for ten weeks.
Visitors have a unique opportunity to explore the lavish rooms that The King and members of the royal family use to receive and entertain guests on official occasions.
Summer: Garden Parties
Garden Parties are a staple in the Royal calendar. A tradition begun by Queen Victoria in the 1860s, the King hosts a minimum of three parties each summer at Buckingham Palace, and one at Holyrood House in Edinburgh.
These events recognise those who have made significant contributions to public service. You generally receive an invitation to them only once in your life, as they are exclusive events.
We had the great honour of attending in 2019, one of the very last events the late Queen hosted.
November: Remembrance Sunday
We observe Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday in November. The King and members of the royal family join political leaders, representatives of the armed forces and veterans at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, to remember those who have died in conflicts.
Similar to ANZAC Day as mentioned above. Millions of people recognise this day alongside the Royal family.
December: Christmas Broadcast
The King’s Christmas Broadcast is a traditional part of the Christmas Day festivities. We know that even in Australia, many still tune in for the annual message of hope from the King. The ruling monarch uses this broadcast as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and look ahead. Once a radio-only event, it of course now goes live across the world in multiple ways.
These events provide a fascinating insight into the traditions and duties of the British monarchy. Whether you’re a royal enthusiast or simply interested in British culture, all are a chance to dip your toes into the culture and history of the UK.