I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it seems to get – in my opinion – oddly little publicity or attention considering the size of the event and the spectacle.
This Sunday, for the 30somthingth year, around 500 members of the English Civil War Society will march in full uniform along the Mall towards Whitehall, where a large parade will line up in Horseguards Parade and a wreath will be laid at Banqueting House to mark the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I.
They form up by St James Palace from around 11am, and then lead by soldiers on horseback, and with the beating of drums and flutes piping, they march along The Mall in military formation until they reach Horseguards Parade.
Normally, they also march through the gates to Horseguards and muster on the road next to Banqueting House, but this year they are going to form up on the Parade ground instead, and send a small contingent over to to lay the wreath.
Although they note this makes it easier for spectators to watch the event, it was also because 500 people, several horses and a few cannons crossing Whitehall road was a burden for the road traffic, who objected to the delay. Boo hiss!
Anyway, if you want to watch around 500 people in full 17th century military, and some civilian costumes, with cannon, pikes and muskets – then head down to The Mall by St James Palace by 11:30am this coming Sunday.
The whole thing lasts about a around an hour or so in total and is quite impressive.
Oh, why would they lay a wreath at Banqueting House? Well, that is where King Charles met his final untimely end on a high scaffold mounted next to the building.
Although the main event starts on The Mall at 11am, there is also a small prelude earlier in the morning, when a group of the King’s Army will lay a wreath by the statue of King Charles I on the south side of Trafalgar Sq. The statue stands on the very spot where some of the people who signed King Charles I’s death warrant were themselves later put to death. It is also historically, the original location for the Charing Cross and from where all distances to London are measured from (alternatives measures exist).