London Must See: Changing of The Guard Buckingham Palace Safety Tips
Must See: Changing of The Guard Buckingham Palace & Prepare To Watch Your Wallet
Almost four years ago, I met my now husband, who is die-hard British although he’s lived in America longer than he ever did in Great Britain. Let’s say: Once British, always British! As Americans, we are much in the same to an extent, but nowhere near the extent of the British. Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace is a staple of British tradition. So first off…
What is the Changing of the Guard Buckingham Palace?
The Changing of the Guard occurs at Buckingham Palace. It’s often called mounting, changing the guard, or the changing of the guard. It is a formal ceremony in which sentries performing ceremonial guard duties at important institutions are relieved by a new batch of sentries. The ceremonies are often elaborate and precisely choreographed, much like an army but more pageantry and entertaining. Many of the guards play instruments and create a band. Some songs are new, others are more historic.
Upon meeting my new in-laws, my father-in-law, John Tasker, proceeded to quiz me on British culture, which I knew NOTHING about other than we dumped their tea off and celebrate Thanksgiving in honor.
He was a former guard on the Queen’s Guard. At the time, all I knew was they had pretty uniforms and served the Queen of England therefore, I was already impressed. In British society, this is one of the biggest deals there is! His response was, “Did you see the changing of the guards?” Disappointing him with my less-than-perfect ” no ” answer I promised to see on my first real trip to London. At the time, I hadn’t even been to London except through the airport!
I did make good on my promise on my first trip to London and couldn’t be happier that I did. Growing up in America, I’ve always admired Buckingham Palace and what it meant to British society. Before this experience, I thought it would be a White House experience, but it wasn’t….it was a lot more than that unless you happened to be at the White House when the president was coming in or leaving.
I must say, I could watch the changing of the guards again and again. Needless to say, it’s an event that everyone should see at least once. In my case, I hope to play tour guide either in person or virtually to my Southern family and friends. So here goes…..
6 Tips: Get the most out of Buckingham Palace – Changing of the Guards
1. Check updated schedules and arrive at least an hour before the changing of the guards. Once the change begins, the police keep the crowds under control and in their specific area to watch. This photo was taken about a 45-minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the changing of the guards.
2. Watch your wallets. These officers are there shouting, “Watch your wallets and belongings!!! There are pickpockets among you!!! Watch your wallets and belongings!!! There are pickpockets among you!!!” Trust me, you’re packed in the can of sardines as if the scales are broken. My advice is that you carry your cell phones Southern style: in your bra! Or of course hold on to them in your hand if you’re snapping pictures. I always carry a crossover purse and always keep it in the front and most often under a jacket.
Notice the every stitch on the flags and the pristineness of the palace as a whole.
Buckingham Palace Guards
4. Make a challenge to get the attention of a guardsman. It didn’t work with this one….not yet, anyway. It did happen later. Some gals were super determined to make this guy smile….and it worked.
Changing of The Guard Buckingham Palace | 2014 Buckingham Palace Guards
The march seems to go on and on and on and on. At times I wished I had counted how many times they went back and forth with the march.
5. And then…..these guys are musically talented too! Make room on your phone cameras or take a separate video camera.
6. Get your arms and shoulders in shape if you have kids….this is the only way they’ll be able to see what’s happening. I must admit I have no idea who this kid is, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching his expressions during the action. His smiles were priceless. And note: he was about four years old and videoed the entire event!!!
During this part of the march, it was as if they were dancing toward each other. It was remarkable how these guys are from guns to musical instruments on cue. The New York City Rockettes should meet these Brits! I’m sure they could create a dance like no other.
7. Yes, I’m infatuated with their uniforms. I could only wish my father-in-law had kept his! Oh! The things in life that could be life’s little treasures. Be sure to check out the details, and then you must go to a local market and hold a jacket. There are lots of vintage stores that sell vintage uniforms.
Each part of the uniform signifies a meaning. For instance, I bought a vintage red coat, and another reader informed me that the clovers on the collar indicated my red coat signified an Irish guard. Considering the Scottish often despise the Irish so much that they will not go to Ireland, I’m grateful that my father-in-law had Alzheimer’s before seeing me in the red coat.
Wishing you all a fab trip to London one day soon if it’s on your bucket list. If not, thanks for letting us share this little moment with you.
P.S. Click here to add another check to the bucket list….let’s go to the Eye of London!
I’m Christi Tasker, serial globetrotter, product & interior designer, Glamma Gaga, NBC social media correspondent, podcaster, freedom fighter, brand & business consultant, entrepreneur's best friend, artist & multi-business owner.