Sunday 26th January 2020 is the nearest Sunday in January to the date of the martyrdom of Charles I on 30th January 1649. The soldiers you will see on this day are all members of the King’s Army, the Royalist part of the English Civil War Society, which exists to re-enact the wars between King Charles I and Parliament during the years 1642-1649. Tragically, Charles was eventually defeated and after detention and a show trial, put to death. The King’s Army official policy is never to refer to it as execution as this infers a legal act, which this was not. A black mark on the clock above Horse Guards at 2.00 pm remembers the time of the King’s death.
The march will make its way in funeral order down the Mall and onto Horse Guards Parade, following Charles’ last route. There, a religious drumhead service will be held, a colour trooped and blessed, the Oath of Loyalty administered and awards and commissions presented. The 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 deed was carried out.
While this takes place, soldiers of the Army will remove their funeral dress and resume a martial order before retracing their route back to St James’s Palace with drums beating and colours flying. Here, with great shouts and acclamations to their King, they will brave the rebels to come out of the city and fight them in the year ahead.