Guardsman Picture: BFBS

How The Queen’s Guardsmen Prepare For Duty At Buckingham Palace

Watch: A behind the scenes look at how Guardsmen prepare their prestigious uniform

Guardsman Picture: BFBS

Guardsmen will usually spend three hours preparing their kit for guard duty, including whitening their buff belt, bulling boots, and grooming their bearskin headdress.

The public and tourists rarely get to see how they prepare their uniforms before they go and guard The Queen.

By the time Guardsmen have even stepped out onto the parade square in front of the thousands of waiting public and tourists, they would have been preparing their kit and themselves for up to 12 hours.

Kit and uniform will be cleaned and polished by each Guardsman, then thoroughly inspected by their Non-Commissioned Officers, who will ensure the highest of standards are being maintained.

Watch Below: How They Get Ready

On days when it is forecast to be a particularly hot day, Guardsmen will be encouraged to drink plenty of water the day prior to the parade, to be sure all soldiers are adequately hydrated.

No one wants to be ‘that guy’ who faints on parade in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen.

On the morning of the parade, it will be an early start. ‘Reveille’ will be called, and they are up out of bed no later than 06:00 hrs.

They will all then head straight to the ablutions. S**t, shower and shave – in that order.

After they have changed into barrack uniform, then it is off to the cookhouse for a hearty breakfast, followed by a mug of tea.

Everyone will then head off to the Armoury to be issued their personal weapon – the SA80 Rifle and bayonet.

SA80 Picture MoD/Crown Copyright
SA80 Rifle: Picture MoD/Crown Copyright

Once all that has been done, it is then time for a full parade rehearsal – so that every person knows exactly what their job is during the parade.  

This is where there will be lots of shouting and balling words of command … especially if people are making silly mistakes.

Once the Drill Sergeant and captain of the guard are happy, there’s just about enough time for a quick coffee, because in less than one hour, all those taking part in the parade will need to be ready in ceremonial uniform, in time for the actual parade to begin at 10:30hrs.

Woe betide anyone who is late or missing an item clothing or equipment.

During the hour long pause, every individual mounting Queen’s Guard will pack their essential kit and equipment that they will need for the next 24/48 hours.

Now it is time to put on their scarlet tunic, tweeds, highly bulled boots and bearskin.

Grenadier Guards newest soldiers under the spotlight Credit MOD 19519
"Get On Parade" Picture MoD/Crown Copyright

A shout of “Get on parade!” would then be bellowed out by the Drill Sergeant. This is everyone’s cue that the changing of the guard parade is about to begin.