Beating retreat 2010

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The term Beating Retreat requires an explanation to the uninitiated. In the 16th century drummers would beat a “retreat,” effectively to call a halt to the day’s work and gather troops back to the safety and security of the barracks for the night.

In the 17th century in Belgium and Holland campaigns it was also known as “doe den tap toe” (tattoo) that encouraged innkeepers to turn off their ale taps so to hasten soldiers return!

The tradition has, over time evolved today into a military musical celebration, calling on skills of the bands that incorporate the poignant trumpet solo, The Last Post through to popular classical marches and classically popular melodies.

The musical spectacular continues this year on the evenings of 9th and 10th June  shortly before dusk at 9pm in the magnificent setting of Horse Guards Parade. The sunset on the silver helmets and breast plates of the Household Cavalry, the glint of the highly-polished instruments and the scarlet and gold tunics of the 400 musicians of the Massed Bands make an unforgettable spectacle. As the light fades, the powerful floodlights focus on specific elements of the performance creating mystery and drama.   

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The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will perform its thrilling Musical Drive drawing the distinctive first World War 13-pounder guns and limbers each drawn by six immaculately turned-out and colour-matched chargers. These are the same guns that delivered a 41-Gun Royal Salute to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday on April 21st.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Bands and State Trumpeters supported by the Massed Bands, Drums and Pipes of the Guards Division, among the finest musicians in the world, will be the backbone the each evening’s event, while the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment performs the elegantly sedate Musical Ride.

On June 9th HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will take the Salute in his capacity as Colonel Grenadier Guards and Senior Colonel of the five Foot Guards Regiments, The Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards. HRH The Duke of Kent, Colonel Scots Guards will take the Salute on the 10th  June. 

To find out more, and book tickets please visit or telephone: 0844 847 1742.

* Enter our competition to win a pair of tickets to the event