The Guard at Buckingham Palace in changing in more ways than one: 48 sailors from across the Royal Navy have taken their places in history this Sunday, on the forecourt of Her Majesty the Queen's London residence.
Representing many branches of the Royal Navy, the Senior Service's traditional navy blue uniforms have replaced for a short period, the distinctive red tunics worn by the Foot Guards. Starting at Buckingham Palace in full show of the general public, they are also set to Mount Royal Guards at Windsor Castle, The Tower of London and St James's Palace over the next few weeks.
It is the first time in more than 400 years that Sailors have replaced Soldiers at the Palace. The last time the Navy had an operational role guarding the Queen was with Elizabeth the first, when Sir Walter Raleigh was appointed Captain of the Queen's Guard in 1587, said Lieutenant Commander Steve Elliot, Sir Walter Raleigh's successor in the role. So it goes back a little while.
Steve's role as the Captain of the Queen's Guard is crucial in making sure that his Guard can seamlessly take on the role as the public facing protection for Her Majesty the Queen. I've got a great team, who have put in long hours, make this all come together. I'm very proud of my Sailors today and they can be justifiably proud of themselves.
The most Senior Officer in the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB, ADC also sent best wishes for the occasion.
“It is fitting that the Royal Navy has been granted the honour of mounting the Queen’s Guard to coincide with the commissioning of HMS Queen Elizabeth. As an island nation, the Royal Navy has always been an expression of our national character. HMS Queen Elizabeth will be our flagship on the world stage for the next half century. She is proof that Britain has the ambition and skill to thrive in this era of global opportunity.
“The sight of sailors undertaking public duties in our capital city is a sign that the Royal Navy is back where it belongs, at the very heart of national life. These young men and women are some of the finest ambassadors we could wish for and I know they will make the Navy and the Nation proud”.
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