Tri-Service

Behind The Scenes At Britain's Royal Palaces

Forces TV has been given exclusive behind the scenes access to witness the key roles members of the forces hold inside the Royal Household...

Forces TV has been given exclusive behind the scenes access to witness the key roles members of the forces hold inside the Royal Household.
 
From a Grenadier Guard flying the flag above Royal palaces, to a former Navy Vice-Admiral in charge of all hospitality for official and private engagements – servicemen and women are involved at the heart of the Monarchy.
 
The channel was also permitted a unique glimpse of senior Army officers invited to an audience with The Queen – all for a special programme "On Her Majesty's Service". 
 
Brig James Swift, Colonel of the Royal Welsh, spoke to The Queen, along with his outgoing colleague Brig Philip Napier.
 
"It is a real honour to be presented to Her Majesty and not something that comes round very often or for very many people, so one is inevitably a little bit nervous."
Forces TV was granted this special access with the permission and kind support of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of York, who is Patron of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) charity, which operates Forces TV and the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS).
 
But when it comes to one of the more famous duties for the Head of State, few are more visible and well-known than flying the Royal Standard when Her Majesty is in residence.
 
Lance Sgt Nathan Bowen is The Queen's Flag Sergeant and is in charge of a meticulously arranged collection of flags for palaces and cars, visits to different Home Nations and for significant Royal occasions.
 
He follows The Queen and flies the Standard to indicate when she is staying in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and Balmoral Castle – raising and lowering it as she enters and leaves.
 
"We all sign or swear the oath of allegiance to serve Her Majesty and her offices below and this is the place at the top of the tree to do just that. You cannot get any nearer to serving Her Majesty than being here physically serving Her Majesty."
 
But he described how sometimes it doesn't always go to plan, "On Her Majesty's official birthday there was a 38 x 19 ft flag, which we call the anniversary flag, and I wanted to put that up.
 
It got a bit windy and I had to grab the policeman, who was also on the roof looking at the crowds, and make sure I got myself a bit of a hand.
 
Once the wind got it, it was really quite strong. Normally everything goes really quite smoothly!"
 
Former Royal Navy Vice-Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt is Master of the Royal Household and responsible for more than 250 employees involved in all official and ceremonial events, catering and housekeeping at all Royal residences.
 
“She is probably the best leader I have ever worked for. She is the most humble. The greatest leaders have the greatest humility and the greatest understanding and caring about people” he said.
“Her Majesty cares about people deeply. Often she will say to me, if I’ve got a personnel issue, she will say, ‘Master, are you being kind?’ and I say, ‘Yes, of course Your Majesty.’”