The Changing of the Guard

With the announcement that the Changing of the Guard will be adjusting its schedule in order to address heightened security fears following the Berlin attacks, we take a look at some of the lesser known facts about the ceremony:

1. Since 1660, Household Troops have guarded the monarch and the Royal Palaces.

2. The Changing the Guard ceremony originally took place at the Palace of Whitehall which was the Sovereign's official residence in London until 1689. When the Court moved to St James's Palace, the ceremony moved with it.

 3. After Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace in 1837, and it became the official residence of the monarchy, the Queen's Guard remained at St James's Palace, with a detachment guarding Buckingham Palace, as it does today.

4. The Old Guard, the name for the soldiers currently on duty, line up in front of the palace, ready to hand over their role to the New Guard which arrives from Wellington Barracks. The New Guard is accompanied by a Band or Corps of Drums.

5. The ceremony represents a formal handover of responsibilities.

6. The Guard at Buckingham Palace is usually carried out by one of the five Foot Guards Regiments of the Household Division - the Grenadier, Coldstream, Welsh, Irish & Scots Guards. They are identified by the number of buttons on their tunics and the plume in their bearskin caps.

7. Bearskins, which are made from Canadian bear fur, are up to 45cm tall and weigh around 0.7kg.

Image courtesy of Cristian Bortes.

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