As a Royalist, Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace was high on my list of things to see in London. The ceremony takes 45 minutes and it starts at 11.15. There is an app but we didn’t get it.
The privilege of guarding the Sovereign traditionally belongs to The Guards, also known as Household Troops. They have carried out this duty since 1660. From time to time, this privilege is extended to other regiments of the British Army.
The Guards consist of five infantry regiments – the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards and most of them have seen action overseas. There are also two regiments of the Household Cavalry, the Life Guards and Blues and Royals.
We arrived quite late, at 11, as we had to drive from outside London to central London and find a car park close enough to walk as it was the strike at the tube that day. The recommendation is to arrive at least one hour before the guards are starting the ceremony as it gets so crowded with thousands of tourists. I would say the same, if you want to have a better location, try to arrive as early as possible.
The handover is accompanied by the Guards band. The music doesn’t have to be traditional military marches, they can also play songs from films and musicals. When The Queen is in residence, instead of two guards there are four sentries at the front of the building.
As I said, is crowded. The police stops the cars and pedestrians to cross over when the band or the mounted guards are outside Buckingham, so is better to move from a place to another to be able to see more.
When we saw the guard change, the Foot Guards (the ones in red) had operational commitments. In this case, other infantry units took part instead.
It was great to see the change and I would like to see it again in the future. For a non-royalist is not the most exciting thing to see in London, but for me was wonderful. The atmosphere is great too, so many people were gathered there, talking in so many different languages.
I understand Spanish, in a cramped space I couldn’t stop myself from hearing them talking about the event and it was lovely. Others were talking in languages that I don’t know, but their excitement was contagious and the actual words didn’t matter.