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Horses at Horse Guards Parade.

Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground off Whitehallmarker in central Londonmarker, at grid reference . It was formerly the site of the Palace of Whitehallmarker's tiltyard, where tournament were held in the time of Henry VIII. It was also the scene of the annual celebrations of the birthday of Queen Elizabeth I.

The area has been used for a variety of reviews, parades and other ceremonies since the 17th century. It was once the Headquarters of the British Army. The Duke of Wellington was based in Horseguards when he was Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. The current General Officer Commanding London District still occupies the same office and uses the same desk. Wellington also had living quarters within the building, which today are used as offices. It is the site of the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour, which commemorates the monarch's official birthday, and Beating Retreat. For much of the late 20th century it was put to a rather less dignified purpose — as a car park for senior civil servants — but this use was ended in the 1990s.

The catalyst for the clearing of the parade ground was the Provisional IRA's mortar attack on 10 Downing Streetmarker on 7 February 1991, which was carried out from a vehicle parked near to Horse Guards Parade in Horse Guards Avenue. Vehicles are no longer allowed to park anywhere in the area.


The parade ground is open on the west side, where it faces Horse Guards Roadmarker and St. James's Parkmarker. It is flanked on the north by the Old Admiralty and the Admiralty Citadel, on the east by Horse Guardsmarker — formerly the headquarters of the British Army — and on the south by the Foreign & Commonwealth Officemarker and the rear garden wall of 10 Downing Streetmarker, the official residence of the British Prime Minister. Access to this side of Horse Guards Parade is now restricted for security reasons.


A number of military monuments and trophies ring the outside of the parade ground, including:

In 2003 the Royal Naval Division Memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1925, was returned to its original site in Horse Guards Parade and rededicated on "Beaucourt Day" (13 November 2003).

An oddity is the black background to the number 2 of the double sided clock which overlooks the Parade Ground and the front entrance, it is popularly thought to commemorate the time the last absolute monarch of England, Charles I, was beheaded at the Banqueting House opposite.

Image:War Memorial at Horseguards.jpg|Guards MemorialImage:Union Flag and War Memorial at Horseguards Parade.JPG|Union Flag backed by the Guards Memorial

The 2012 Olympics

Horse Guards Parade will host the beach volleyball competition of the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London. Temporary courts and seating will be installed, much as seating is installed annually for Trooping the Colour. There will be two courts with capacities of 12,000 and 5,000.

London Polo Championships

Horse Guards Parade is set to host the 1st London Polo Championships on the 17th & 18th of June 2009, [58681] with a host of teams from around the world


  1. UK Ministry of Defence: Guards Memorial

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