Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle

Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since 1660. Until 1689, the Sovereign lived mainly at the Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since 1660. Until 1689, the Sovereign lived mainly at the Palace of Whitehall and was guarded there by Household Cavalry and was guarded there by Household Cavalry. For hundreds of years, Changing the Guard or Guard Mounting is the process which consists of a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard. The Guard which mounts at Buckingham Palace is called The Queen’s Guard and is divided into two Detachments: the Buckingham Palace Detachment (which is responsible for guarding Buckingham Palace), and the St. James’s Palace Detachment, (which guards St. James’s Palace). The Queen’s Guard is commanded by a Captain and each Detachment is commanded by a Lieutenant. When the Queen is at the Palace, there are four sentries at the front of the building. At Buckingham Palace, Guard Mounting takes place every day at 11.30 A.M, from May to July, on different dates throughout the rest of the year. In case a very wet weather, no Guard Mounting will take place. Moreover, tourists can also see Guard Mounting at Windsor Castle, from 11.00 A.M. daily (except Sundays) from April to July.

When Guardsmen are on duty, the soldiers are drawn from one of the five regiments of Foot Guards in the British Army: the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Grenadier Guards and the Coldstream Guards. The whole ceremony is accompanied by a Guards band, playing traditional military marshes.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
During the ceremony (at about 10.45am and again at 11.40am), the mounted guards will ride past, firstly going up ‘The Mall’ and then returning back down. If you want to take photos of the ceremony, the best opportunity is before or after, for example, after the Guard Mounting, Wellington Barracks to the left of Buckingham Palace as you face it is the best place and St. James’ Palace before and after. Another spot where you can take great photos is at Horse Guards Parade and in Whitehall where you can pose yourself standing next to a guard on their horse.


The schedule for Changing of the Guard in 2009 will be as it follows:
Buckingham Palace
September – even days (2, 4, 6, etc. No ceremony on 20 September)
October – even days (No ceremony on 12 October)
November – odd days (No ceremony on 9 November)
December – odd days (No ceremony on 3 and 23 December)

Windsor Castle
September – odd days
October – odd days
November – even days
December – even days

There also other ceremonies during year, such as:
11.00am Changing the Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards Parade
The mounted Regiments change The Queen’s Life Guard at the entrance to Horse Guards, daily at 11.00am (10.00am on Sundays only). There are two types of Queen’s Life Guard. A Long Guard consisting of 17 men is mounted when The Queen is resident in London, otherwise a Short Guard made up of 12 men is mounted.

Changing of the Guard in Winter
Changing of the Guard in Winter
11.00am The Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle Very similar to The Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Battalion of Foot Guards stationed at Windsor provide the daily Guard.
4.00pm The 4 o’clock Parade Horse Guards is the official entrance to Buckingham Palace, therefore The Queen’s Life Guard is mounted here and is inspected daily at 4 o’clock.
10.00pm The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. For over 700 years, the Tower has been locked every night and no one allowed in or out without the password. Today this ceremony still takes place at 7 minutes to ten each night, when the Chief Yeoman Warder, escorted by the military Guard, marches from the Byward Tower to lock the heavy wooden gates to the fortress.


Changing of the Guard
Changing of the Guard

Guard Mounting at Buckingham Palace
Guard Mounting at Buckingham Palace

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