Prince Charles And Camilla Mark 535 Years Of Beefeaters At Tower Of London

Warning: The cover video contains flashing images.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have visited the Tower of London to mark 535 years of the Beefeaters.

Known more formally as 'Yeoman Warders', Beefeaters have engaged in ceremonial duties (and latterly welcoming tourists) since 1485 when the role was created by King Henry VII.

Prince Charles and Camilla were given a tour of the tower, which sits on the north bank of the River Thames.

The couple shook hands and briefly chatted to excited members of the public as they walked through the grounds.

Camilla asked some of the schoolchildren how they were enjoying their half-term break, while Charles joked they might be asked to write essays about their visit.

He said: “See how much you can remember. When you get older you can’t remember a thing.”

Deputy Governor of the Tower of London, Debra Whittingham, told Forces News: "It was a really special day.

"The Yeoman Warders love getting dressed up for any occasion and this was a special occasion, so they were in their state dress.

"They were able to escort the Royal couple through their tower and they love all that."

Prince Charles and Camilla pose for a picture with the Beefeaters.
Prince Charles and Camilla pose for a picture with the Beefeaters.

Prince Charles and Camilla met more than a dozen Beefeaters during their visit, while the Duchess cut a lantern-shaped cake to mark the anniversary.

The cake, symbolising the lantern used to guide the chief warder as he locks up the tower, was gifted by Camilla and made by Julie Brownlee, who has previously baked for the Duchess.

The cake included two small sugar figures of Warders dressed in the traditional ceremonial and everyday uniforms standing alongside the gold lantern and a set of silver keys.

"We don't see Royals here that often, so it was a really special day for us," Chief Yeoman Warder Peter McGowran said.

"There are 37 Yeoman Warders, and when I put the message out to the rest of my guys that their Royal Highnesses were coming in, they were really excited.

"Even when they were on leave, they phoned in and said 'can we take part?'"

The historic castle served as a prison for more than 800 years and is also home to the UK's Crown Jewels.

Beefeaters stand outside the Tower of London.
Beefeaters stand outside the Tower of London.

During the tour, Prince Charles showed the Duchess his Investiture Coronet, which is going on display at the tower from 19 February.

They were also shown the cell where Sir Thomas More, once Henry VIII’s closest adviser, was imprisoned before his execution in 1535.

The Yeoman Warders descended from the ancient band of warders who guarded the gates and royal prisoners, early in the tower’s history.

Modern Yeoman Warders are still Extraordinary Members of the Queen’s Bodyguard.

When the Royal couple left, Camilla was presented with a posy of yellow and purple flowers by two-year-old Erin Allison-Amichund, daughter of the tower’s chief exhibitor.

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