It may be a Diamond Jubilee year, and The Queen will be doing lots of things that will open only to carefully checked dignitaries, local politicians, and of course… school children.
However, there are two annual regal engagements that are open to the public, although you have to put your name into a ballot to try and get tickets.
First is Trooping the Colour.
The annual dose of pomp and ceremony in Horseguards where lots of people march around the gravel covered square and salute the Queen on her dais.
Tickets for seated stands around Horse Guards Parade are allocated by ballot in March. A letter asking to be put in the ballot — sent with a stamped addressed envelope — should be made in January or February only to:
HQ Household Division
You will get back a short information pack about how to buy tickets to the previews, and if you get selected in the ballot, you can have up to 3 tickets to the main event. They will cost about £20 per ticket if you are selected.
The other is for tickets to the Garter Ceremony.
This is a fairly recent resurrection of an ancient tradition that takes place inside Windsor Castle each June. I attended last year, and it was rather enjoyable.
To request tickets, send an email before 1st March to Garterday.firstname.lastname@example.org with your name/address. You can request up to four tickets.
An alternative option – and one that comes with rather better seating – is to join the Friends of St George’s Chapel, as that includes an opportunity to get tickets to Garter Day, amongst other things.