Saturday, 10 May 2008

Changing of the Guard - Buckingham Palace


Now, in all the touristee books this is a must see. So I went and saw it and to be quite honest:

- I had no idea what was going on

- I couldn't really see anything

- I could harldy hear anything

- There were people, everywhere!

- You had to stand behind the gates (or anywhere you could find) to watch not much

- Its was extremely hot

So, I have added the following to tell me (and you) what was going on!!

Personally, I don't really recommend going, I would say you would have to be there fairly early to get a good spot and to be honest you can't really see a whole lot.

The Changing of the Guard takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. The St. James' Palace detachment of the Queen's Guard, led usually by the Corps of Drums, and bearing the Colour (if the Queen is in residence, then this will be the Queen's Colour; if she is not, then it is the Regimental Colour), marches along the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where the Buckingham Palace detachment has formed up to await their arrival. These two detachments are the Old Guard. Meanwhile the New Guard is forming up and are awaiting inspection by the Adjutant on the parade square at Wellington Barracks. The Band, having been inspected by the Adjutant, forms a circle to play music whilst the New Guard is inspected. The Guard provides a full Military Band consisting of no fewer than 35 musicians (usually, though not always, from one of the Guards regiments) accompanied by their Director of Music. When the New Guard is formed up, led by the Band, it marches across into the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Once there, the New Guard advances towards the Old Guard in slow time and halts. The Old Guard presents arms, followed by the New Guard presenting arms. The Captains of the Guards march towards each other for the handing over of the Palace keys. The new reliefs are marched to the guardrooms of Buckingham Palace and St James' Palace where new sentries are posted.

The sentries being posted. The Old Guard is from the Coldstream Guards; the New Guard is from the Australian Federation Guard.

During this time the Band has taken its place by the centre gate, formed up in a half-circle, where it plays music to entertain the New and Old Guard as well as the watching crowds. During this period, the two regimental colours are paraded up and down by the Ensigns (usually junior officers of 2nd Lieutenant rank or equivalent). With the Old and New Guards formed up once again, the Old Guard and the Band marches out through the centre gates in slow time to their Regimental Slow march played by the Band. At the end of the slow march the Captain of the Old Guard gives the word of command to 'Break into Quick Time' and with a brisk five pace roll from the drums, the Band leads the way back to Wellington Barracks.

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