Have you heard the expression 'Putting the Queen to bed'?

9 October 2019

Naval Historian  and TV presenter Dan Snow visited HMS Victory this morning and posted a short video of the ceremony of Colours

The Royal Navy has many traditions but one that happens daily is the 'Colours' and 'Sunset' ceremonies.Every day at 0800 in the summertime, and 0900 in wintertime until sunset warships of Her Majesty's Navy fly the flags of the nation and service.

The Union Jack is flown from the 'Jack staff' at the bow of the ship whilst the White Ensign is flown at the stern by from 'Ensign staff'. The ceremony to hoist the flag is known as 'Colours' and the ceremony to take down the flags is known as 'Sunset'. 

The Ship's Bell is also part of the ceremony at Colours, the bell is struck eight times at 0800 to mark the change of the watch to the Forenoon and if the ceremony takes place at 0900 it is struck twice. 

On full ceremonial occasions Royal Marines Bands and Buglers may be involved in the ceremonies however for day to day purposes the Bosun's Call, a traditional two pitch whistle, is used to alert everyone to the ceremony. All Naval personnel on upper deck at the time of hearing the alert will stop and face the stern and salute. Shore establishments in the Navy are also known as Her Majesty's Ships for example, the home of the First Sea Lord and his Naval Command Headquarters is situated in HMS Excellent which is located on Whale Island in Portsmouth. 

The ceremony of 'sunsets' is known affectionately through the Royal Navy as 'Putting the Queen to bed'.

Colours ceremony