A Coldstream Guard who was on duty at Buckingham Palace on Friday was forced to leave his post to intervene in an incident at the North Centre Gate during which a man reportedly tried to gain entry.
The report, which comes from The Sun on Sunday describes how the sentry had to intervene when the man’s conduct towards police became increasingly aggressive, having spent 5 minutes shouting at the officer.
Whilst mainly armed police officers are on duty at the palace, there are many officers who carry out their duties unarmed – which could have been one of the reasons why the guardsman had to intervene.
According to the Sun, no arrests were made during the incident and the police simply escorted the man away after his encounter with the guardsman.
The incident happened at around 5.50pm, according to the Metropolitan Police.
One sightseer told the Sun, “The man said, ‘Oh, you’re a big boy now,’ and the guard — who I think was Scottish judging by his accent — said, ‘Yes, I am a big boy.”
This latest security alert is one in a series of events which have been noted over the last few months. Last year, a man was arrested in the State Apartments of the Palace after having broken in. A short while later, another incident saw a man attempt to get into the Palace carrying a knife, though he was stopped by police in the palace forecourt. The image of the incident can be seen on the Sun’s website here.
The Queen’s guards are largely ceremonial, though still fulfil an important security role at the palace and other royal residences. All men in the foot guards are members of the Armed Forces and only part of their duties are ceremonial – the other part sees them being deployed on operations like any other army unit.
In the orders for the sentries (the orders which are given to each guardsman when he starts his two-hour duty on a post), a sentry may only leave their post when there is a threat.
The Guards have always played a role in the security of royal residences. Although over time, most of the security responsibilities have been handed over to the police, there remains an obligation for the army to provide soldiers to guard The Queen’s palaces.
Similar incidents where the sentries have had to step in have been recorded before. In 2012 this video (below) was uploaded to YouTube with a similar ending to the one reported today – where the sentry ‘ports’ his weapon as a means of warning off a would-be-offender.
One man has even gone to the lengths of intentionally aggravating the guards for his video, which has been poorly received by viewers on YouTube, with it being branded as ‘unfunny harassment’.
It’s not known whether any other members of the Royal Family were in the Palace at the time of Friday’s incident, though The Queen is in residence at Windsor Castle for April during what’s known as Easter court and was not at the Palace when the incident occurred.
The intruder has not been identified.
photo credit: © 2013 Royal Central