Beating the Retreat

Members of London Branch and OUSDS (Oxford University Scottish Dance Society) are taking part in Beating The Retreat on Horse Guards Parade.

They are dancing in a scene depicting the Duchess of Richmond’s ball.

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The Household Division’s Beating Retreat – a spectacular evening pageant of music and military precision drill, including horses, cannon and fireworks – takes place on the 10th and 11th of June this year.

These annual concerts are performed on Horse Guards Parade in front of the beautiful backdrop of St James’s Park each year on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings preceding the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or “Trooping TheColour” as it is often called.

Military Beating Retreat concerts have a long tradition dating back to the 1690s. Originally the beating of the drum was used to order troops to break off fighting and withdraw to the safety of camp as darkness fell, later it signaled the closing of the camp gates at the end of the day and called troops back to base for the night. Today a Beating Retreat is an evening military concert with a marching display and usually marks the lowering of the Regimental flag at sunset.

Soldiers of the Household Division are instantly recognisable through their distinctive uniforms and headdress and have a history spanning over three centuries.