One of the things the British do better than anyone else in the world is pomp and pageantry, involving people wearing a huge array of different coloured uniforms.

One of those events is Trooping the Colour, held every June to mark the Queen's official birthday. The Queen has two birthdays - her real one on 21st April and another in June when the better weather allows events to celebrate her birtday, such as Trooping the Colour, to take place without much fear of rain.

Here are some photos of British soldiers, in their glorious red uniforms, rehearsing for this year's Trooping the Colour, which attracts tourists from all over the world....

Pictured: A bird's eye sneak-preview of the Trooping of the Colour

By Mail On Sunday Reporter
08th June 2008
Daily Mail

They look like minutely detailed lead soldiers, painstakingly posed in a millimetre-perfect model of one of the most familiar set-pieces of the British summer calendar.

But these remarkable photographs taken from a Mail on Sunday helicopter 500ft above Horse Guards Parade in London is of a dress rehearsal for Saturday's Trooping The Colour, with 1,400 British soldiers, 400 musicians and 200 horses. It is held, of course, to mark the Queen's official birthday.

Trooping the Colours - first held in 1745 and still going strong more than 250 years later

Horse Guards is on the original site of York Palace, the London residence of the Archbishops of York since 1245, appropriated from Cardinal Wolsey by Henry VIII in 1529.

Henry renamed it the Palace of Whitehall. The parade ground in the picture was originally Henry's tiltyard or jousting arena.

With 1,500 rooms, the palace was the largest building in the world until it was destroyed by fire in 1691. It was never rebuilt but the guardhouse - recreated by William Kent in the 1750s - has remained the headquarters of the British Army's Household Cavalry.

The Horse Guards parade in London, watched by a sea of spectators

The parade has its origins on the medieval battlefield, to familiarise soldiers with their regiment's colour. It became a de facto pledge of allegiance to the Crown during the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 when Charles II created the original Household Cavalry and the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards as his trusted defenders.

Trooping The Colour was first held to mark the Monarch's birthday in 1745.

On Saturday, watched by members of the public who entered a ballot for tickets, the Queen will arrive with the Duke of Edinburgh in Queen Victoria's 1842 phaeton. At 11am precisely Her Majesty will receive a Royal salute in front of the Horse Guards building.

The parade begins with the inspection of the Guards and the Household Cavalry.

Then a senior Drum Major orders the Massed Bands to march to Les Huguenots by Meyerbeer, a lone drummer gives the call to Troop The Colour through the ranks, the Ensign salutes and receives the Colour and the parade presents arms to the National Anthem.

The Massed Bands then do an intricate 'Spin Wheel'. The manoeuvre has never been written down but is committed to memory and passed to each new generation of bandsmen. The ceremony ends with an RAF fly-past watched by the Royal Family.

The review is a rehearsal for next weeks annual Trooping The Colour

British soldiers march along The Mall, London

Members of the Grenadier Guards

Click on the picture below to see a fascinating bird's eye view of the rehearsal in progress: