London, England

Changing the Guard

Changing the guard, a spectacular display of regality, is next in popularity only to a coronation or a royal wedding. Thousands of visitors from all over the world view the ceremony each week.

A regal tradition

Also known as Guard Mounting, Changing the Guard traces its origins a few centuries ago. Despite the pomp and pageantry, the Queen’s Guards comprises elite soldiers from the British armed forces, most of whom have proven their mettle on the battlefield. At the Buckingham Palace, despite their ceremonial bearing, they are soldiers on active duty to guard their Queen.

The Ceremony

Changing the Guard happens at two venues, the St. James’s Palace and the Buckingham Palace. Here’s the sequence of events to help you choose the right vantage point to view the ceremony:

  • 11:13 am: The Old Guard marches in from St. James’s Palace to the Buckingham Palace
  • 11:27 am: The New Guard marches down from Wellington Barracks to the Buckingham Palace.
  • 11:30 am: The formal change-over is conducted at the fore-court of the Buckingham Palace
  • 11:40 am: A contingent of the New Guard marches down to St. James’s Palace to take charge
  • 12:10 to 12:15 pm: The Old Guard from both the palaces marches from the Buckingham Palace forecourt to the Wellington Barracks

All of the above is accompanied by a premier military band in full regalia. The spectacular uniforms and the bearskins hats add to the ceremonial splendor of Changing the Guard.

Handy Tips

  • Changing the Guard can sometimes be cancelled if the weather is unfriendly.