What time is the 82 gun salute today? Meaning of Jubilee salutes at Hyde Park and Tower of London explained

42 gun salutes are set to be fired across the country ahead of the Royal family appearing on the Buckingham Palace balcony

Today (2 June) marks 70 years since the Queen’s coronation and the beginning of major celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee 2022.

Trooping the Colour will kick off festivities, while the Royal Family is set to appear together on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the first time since 2019.

The UK’s longest-reigning monarch will also receive an 82 gun salute from the armed forces.

What are gun salutes - and why do they take place on special royal occasions? (image: AFP/Getty Images)

But what does this mean, where will the salutes take place - and when will it happen?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a gun salute?

Special events for the Royal household, like anniversaries and birthdays, are marked with a gun salute - a traditional signal of respect or welcome.

Typically, these take place across several locations in London, as well as in towns and cities around the UK and overseas.

If the event in question falls on a Sunday, they will fire the following day.

In London, which will be at the centre of the Jubilee celebrations, salutes are fired from the Tower of London and either Hyde Park or Green Park (depending on what the occasion is).

Horse drawn World War One artillery guns are used for the gun salutes in London parks (image: AFP/Getty Images)

They usually involve ceremonial guns.

World War Two-era 25-pounder guns operated by the Honourable Artillery Company are used at the Tower of London and six horse-drawn First World War-era 13-pounder guns operated by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery are used in the London parks.

These guns fire blanks, but the boom of them can travel a long way.

How many rounds are fired in a gun salute?

A basic gun salute is 21 rounds, which are fired at 10-second intervals.

In Hyde Park an extra 20 are fired because it is a Royal Park.

At the Tower of London, they fire a 62-gun salute because it is classified as a Royal Fortress.

A gun salute will be fired from Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland today (image: Getty Images)

The extra 21 rounds are added for the City of London as a mark of British citizens’ loyalty to the crown.

Given it is theQueen’s official birthday and the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen’s coronation, the number of shots will be doubled on 2 June.

So, there will be an 82 gun salute in Hyde Park and 124 volleys coming from the Tower of London.

What are the origins of gun salutes?

No one knows exactly why we fire guns to mark special Royal events.

The British Army says the practice of gun salutes came from the 15th Century when ships heading into foreign ports would fire all their guns out to sea on arrival to show they came in peace.

The number of rounds fired is believed to have stemmed from British ships carrying seven guns at the time.

Guns stationed onshore would then welcome incoming ships by firing three rounds for every shot fired from the ships.

This meant that 21 shots were fired overall – what is now a basic salute.

What we do know is that by 1730 the Royal Navy were firing 21-gun salutes to mark anniversaries and in 1808, this became the standard salute to the Royal Family and heads of state.

When are gun salutes fired?

Gun salutes are fired to mark several occasions in the Royal and state calendar.

These include:

  • Accession Day (when the Queen ascended the throne following her father King George VI’s death) – 6 February
  • The Queen’s birthday – 21 April
  • Coronation Day - 2 June 
  • The Queen’s official birthday - a Saturday in June
  • The Prince of Wales’s birthday - 14 November
  • The State Opening of Parliament
  • Prorogation of Parliament (the end of the Parliamentary session, e.g. for a general election)
  • Royal births
  • Meeting of a visiting Head of State and the Monarch in London, Windsor or Edinburgh

When is the 82 gun salute today?

The Platinum Jubilee 82 gun salute is set to take place in Hyde Park at 12.52pm today (2 June).

The Tower of London will then fire its salute at 1pm.

You will usually be able to watch both salutes from a distance.

For those hoping to be close to the guns at the Tower, you will have to buy a ticket to get into its grounds.

Where will gun salutes take place in UK?

While London will have the main celebratory gun salutes, rounds are usually fired at other sites around the UK.

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, Cardiff Bay in Wales and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland are all set to fire gun salutes on 2 June.