If you hang around The Mall in central London on the last Sunday of the month, you’ll see the remarkable sight of several hundred English Civil War reenactors marching along the road.

This is the annual ceremony to commemorate the execution of King Charles I by Parliament in 1649 and it is quite an impressive sight that’s worth dragging yourself into town for in the morning. The main muster point is next to St James Palace from about 10:30am onwards, and they will form up on The Mall at 11:15am.

At 11:30, they’ll march along The Mall to Horseguards, where a service is held in memory of the beheaded monarch, and various long-service awards handed out to members, to great cries of Huzzuh and the beating of drums.

It’s not ticketed or fenced off – so you can wander around while they prepare to march, but once they’re marching, keep to the pavement to follow the parade, and then at Horseguards, you can watch the ceremony from wherever you want to get a view.

A wreath, which ‘Remembers’ His Majestie’s horrid murder, is then trooped around the whole army before being taken by the honour guard through Horse Guards Arch and across to the Banqueting House and laid where the Horrid deed was carried out.

They’ll then parade back along the Mall to complete the ceremony.

It’s one of those remarkable things that the English seem to do so well, historic pomp and ceremony and free to watch if you know it’s happening.

When I first attended back in 2009, hardly anyone turned up, and most of the onlookers were people out for a walk and being bemused by what they saw. Now, crowds turn up to line the Mall and watch. And that is a Good Thing, to see the effort the reenactors put into the parade and enjoy a bit of historic pomp and ceremony.

This year’s parade takes place on Sunday 28th January, from 11:15am, and is free to watch.

There’s also a small pre-march ceremony at the statue of Charles I in Trafalgar Square, which takes place around 10:30am, but the main event is on the Mall – and you can see the wreath on the statue after the main parade anyway.

The unrelated Society of King Charles the Martyr also holds a service at Banqueting House every year on the anniversary of the execution – 30th January.


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One comment
  1. George Windson says:

    Horrid murder? By the standards of the time he had an unusually fair trial.

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