An Olympian History of the Horse Guard Parade
August 13, 2012
When watching the Olympics, I am sure many keep asking, "Ok, where is this Horse Parade they keep talking about?” It’s easy to be confused; the Horse Guard Parade is not an event, it’s a place. The home venue for all beach volleyball events, the Horse Guard Parade, is located just behind Whitehall, the seat of British Government. Whitehall served at one time as a palace, and in its lengthy history the Horse Guard Parade saw a corpulent Henry VIII presiding over jousting tournaments and annual birthday celebrations for Elizabeth I, and the Duke of Wellington advising and inspiring his troops. It has served as the official home of the British Army and the starting point for Royal Weddings, Coronations, Funerals, and parades for over four centuries.
The grounds fell out of favor as more opulent passageways were built during the 20th century, and the grounds became a public car park for the 1000 plus employees of Whitehall and its environs. Its name became linked forever to the specter of terrorism when, in 1991, the Provisional IRA launched a mortar from a vehicle parked at the Horse Guard Parade to number 10 Downing Street. The car park was noted to be a security risk for parked vehicles, and after a massive renovation, the grounds were back to ceremonial use.
Today, the Horse Ground Parade sees the annual Trooping of the Colours, which marks the monarch’s birthday, and, since 2009, the annual World Polo Championships. A fantastic museum committed to the history of the British Calvary is on the premises, open to the public. Marked with several monuments, memorials, and trophies, the Horse Guard Parade serves with pride to the spirit of Olympic achievement and to the heritage of sportsmanship worldwide.
North Independence Branch