The Royal Gun Salutes For The Baby Prince

Following on from my blog post yesterday, I thought I thought some people may be interested in seeing the gun-salutes in central London yesterday.

Gun salutes can be fired from land or on the sea and are a traditional sign of welcome or respect.  They use blank cannon shells as a sign of friendliness in the same way that traditional military salutes with hands started as a method of demonstrating a lack of hostility by showing their empty hands.

Royal Salutes are fired in areas of London but also other parts of the United Kingdom and indeed in other Commonwealth nations.  There were plenty fired yesterday but here are the two that were held in London.

Green Park Salute

The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a salute in Green Park
Photo by Sergeant Adrian Harlen

Most Royal Salutes are 21 rounds but those held in Royal Parks have an extra 20 rounds.  Usually the location with the most rounds fired is The Tower Of London where the basic 21 are fired plus 20 for it being a Royal Palace and an additional 21 to represent the people of the City of London.

Gun salutes can be held for any important national celebration or to welcome a foreign dignitary.  They are held at the birth of any senior Royal Family member as well as other Royal anniversaries:
6 February (Accession Day)
21 April (The Queen’s birthday)
2 June (Coronation Day)
10 June (The Duke of Edinburgh’s birthday)
The Queen’s official birthday (a Saturday in June)
14 November (The Prince of Wales’s birthday)
The State Opening of Parliament

There were 2 salutes yesterday both held at 2pm.  The one in Green Park was a 41 gun salute when the Royal Horse Artillery rode 71 horses pulling 6 13 pounder field guns from their barracks and  in front of Buckingham Palace before setting up at the north end of this big park.   The cannons they brought were actual WW1 cannons although they wore the soldiers worse their dress uniforms that pre-date that war by some way.

Gun Wharf Royal Salute

The Honourable Artillery Company Royal Gun Salute at The Tower of London

The other salute was held at Gun Wharf overlooking the Thames and just under the walls of the Tower of London.  This was enacted by the Honourable Artillery Company who the reserve army unit for London.  They fired 61 rounds from 3 modern ceremonial 130mm cannons which are very similar to some of those used in present day Afghanistan.

I watched both of them on the BBC who showed them on a split screen broadcast.  It went on for 8 or 9 minutes and they both looked spectacular in their own way.  I liked the Green Park one because of the setting and all the old guns and horses, it looked like an ancient battle.  The Tower of London was very striking due to it taking place by the river and with the bridge just down the road and the castle behind it.  It’s quite amazing that a castle built 950  years ago still gets used for these military occasions.

Tower Bridge Gun Salute

Awesome photo of the salute by the Thames from The Sun newspaper or The Son as it has temporarily renamed itself.

I’ve been unable to find the clip I watched on television but I have found these reports that give an idea of how it was.

CBS NEWS report (United States TV Channel)

The Globe and Mail (Canadian Newspaper Site)

Sky News Feature (British TV channel)

BBC News on Royal Salutes

RHA in The Mall

The RHA on their way to Green Park (photo from Hello Magazine)

 

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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7 Responses to The Royal Gun Salutes For The Baby Prince

  1. I am surprised we haven’t had anything here in Gib, as we go big on gun salutes for all of the ones on your list apart from Charlie’s bday (hardly a reason for celebrating anyway). But if we have had one, I’ve missed it. I thought 21 was only related to the queen, and the others were 20, but I may be wrong, I do remember watching different salutes though with different numbers.

    Ours use guns like the ones at the Tower and are carried out at the Naval Dockyard, we can get a pass to go and watch and it is well worth it. We do have the older guns like the ones in the artillery photo – they are dotted around Gib as historic monuments I guess. From Russia, I think. I’ll walk down and have a look!

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    • I have checked for quite a while and have found a reference to their being a gun salute in Gibraltar yesterday but I can’t find any photos. It also says there were some in Canada, New Zealand and Australia but for some reason only showed a photo of one in Guernsey for some reason.

      I remember seeing the Naval Dockyard when I had my day-trip to Gibraltar. It was from high up where I am sure we were looking at the monkeys. Do you ever get to explore the old military tunnels inside the Rock?

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  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks for sharing. We probably got some of these shots on our news but I probably missed it.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Stephen. What a big day, huh?! Is everyone just so excited. I guess we’re all waiting on the name still, right? It all looks quite majestic.

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  4. I watched that and all I could think was, ‘What’s about the people on the other side of the river?’ They don’t show you that. Hundreds of people screaming.

    Still, George the seventh. Lovely name. At least it’s not modern.

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