London, the capital city of England, is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the face of the earth. With numerous tourist attractions, a rich and historic past, plenty of places to eat and drink, and plenty of things to do, it’s easy to see why this city is so popular amongst tourists and locals alike.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a city break in the nation’s capital, or just enjoy a day out, you’ll never be short of things to do in ‘Old London Town’.
When in London, a trip to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen and the other members of the Royal Family will probably be one of your main priorities, and if so, you simply must check out the Changing of the Guard Ceremony.
But what exactly is the Changing of the Guard ceremony and why do we have it? To help you learn more, here are a few interesting facts about the Changing of the Guard that you may not have been aware of.
What Is The Changing Of The Guard?
Since the year 1660, leading soldiers from 2 cavalry regiments and 5 infantry divisions have been protecting the monarchy.
At St James Palace and Buckingham Palace, guards currently guarding the monarchy will hand over responsibility to new guards coming in to relieve them of their shifts.
Here, with live band music playing, synchronized marching, and various other military traditions and nuances, the ceremony, which lasts 45 minutes, attracts numerous tourists and is completely free of charge.
What Does The Ceremony Entail?
The St James Palace detachment of the Old Guard will convene in Friary Court at 10:25 to be inspected by the Queen’s Guard Captain. Once the captain is happy, the soldiers will march towards Buckingham Palace at precisely 10:43. They will be preceded by a regimental band.
The soldiers already on duty at Buckingham Palace will also be inspected by their Captain as they await the St James Palace soldiers.
The Old Guard will now await the incoming New Guard, who will once again be inspected at Wellington Barracks.
All the time this is going on, the regimental band accompanying the soldiers will form a circle and play live music, making it quite a show.
At precisely 11:00, the New Guard will enter the forecourt, march in front of the band, face the Old Guard, and march towards them to relieve them of their duties and take on their share of the responsibilities of guarding the monarchy.
Never Stand In The Way Of Soldiers
Despite their unique attire in the form of a red uniform and the fuzzy black hat, which is officially called a ‘bearskin’ by the way, these are soldiers who are trained to kill and trained to protect the monarchy at all costs.
Because of the way they dress and how they march, tourists have been known to poke fun at the soldiers and try to distract them. Some people even try to stop them from marching, which is something you should never do.
The soldiers will NOT stop marching for you or march around you, they will simply plow right through you if you don’t get out of the way. Usually, they will yell a warning, in the form of ‘MAKE WAY FOR THE QUEEN’S GUARD’ and you had better make sure that you do make way.
Never touch the guards or try to antagonize them as they are armed and can, if necessary, use deadly force with no repercussions.
Why The Red Uniform?
When we think of soldiers now, we think of jungle camouflage and desert camouflage, so why the red uniforms? Some people claim it is so blood from the enemy doesn’t show up, but that isn’t true. Basically, centuries ago, soldiers didn’t hide, they were instead dressed to stand out and be identified. The red uniforms helped the soldiers to do precisely that.