A first time honour for the Royal Navy

Sailors from across Royal Navy are preparing for the honour of guarding Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family for the first time ever.

Drill instructors from the Army’s Guards Division have been working closely with the Royal Navy’s ceremonial instructors, as preparations at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth are under way for what will be a first for the Senior Service as they prepare to guard at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.

Their know-how is being passed to sailors from ships and units across the Royal Navy and helping them understand the intricate routines and movements needed for the Queen’s Royal Guard.

“It’s daunting, but I’m very excited,” said Warrant Officer Eddie Wearing, State Ceremonial Training Officer for the Royal Navy.

It’s daunting, but I’m very excited

Warrant Officer Eddie Wearing

“It’s something which I’ve been pushing for since I started in-post. I’m looking forward to it all, but very apprehensive at the moment. Training is going well. I think we are on the curve and where we should be at the moment.”

The Royal Navy Guard will deploy to London over the next week and begin their time in the limelight with the prestigious ‘Changing of the Guard’ at Buckingham Palace on 26 November. 

Over a further two weeks they will also mount guards at Windsor Castle, St James’s Palace and the Tower of London where they will be guarding the crown jewels.

Each period of guard duty lasts for two days and when mounting the guard for the Royal Palaces they will assemble on the parade square at Wellington Barracks, before marching with the Royal Marines Band to their duties.

The Changing of the Guard can be traced back to the reign of Henry VII, when a ‘Royal Body Guard’ was created to protect the Sovereign.

Guards Regiments were formed to protect King Charles II in 1656, when he was in exile and since then have provided highly trained Officers and Soldiers for the Royal Guards.

“We’ve trained other Army regiments, but for the first time ever we are getting the Royal Navy ready to take over state ceremonial public duties in London,” said Colour Sergeant Elliot Fox, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.

“There are differences in language, ranks and the drill which has been a bit of a small hurdle to get over, but now working alongside, it’s really a good relationship.

“For us as guardsmen, wearing the red tunic and bearskin is all part of being in the guards. The whole ceremonial around London and parading for the Queen is very important, and it’s why I joined the Coldstream Guards.

“The training has gone well, everyone’s applied themselves to a really high standard, and the Royal Navy Ceremonial Instructors have put a lot of effort into making our job relatively easy.”