Next week will see nearly 90 sailors from 45 of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy Ships and establishments perform the first ever Royal Navy Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in London.
The sailors have been undergoing extensive training to learn the intricate routines and drill movements needed to execute the historic royal guarding duties and ceremony at The Queen’s official residence. They are also preparing for additional ceremonial guarding duties at the Tower of London, St James’s Palace and Windsor Castle which, in addition to the Changing of the Guard, are part of a range of special duties to mark the approaching conclusion of the ‘Year of the Navy’. The special categorisation for 2017 was announced in January of this year by the Ministry of Defence in part to recognise the inauguration of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier – the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Though the Royal Marines – the other half of Her Majesty’s Naval Service – have performed the Guard ceremony (also known as ‘Guard Mounting’) on three occasions, this will be the first time the Royal Navy will assume the temporary duty. The Changing of the Guard pageantry at Buckingham Palace is traditionally undertaken by one of the five Foot Guards Regiments from the Army’s Household Division and next week’s ceremony will see the Navy take over from the Coldstream Guards.
The Navy’s state ceremonial training officer, Warrant Officer Eddie Wearing has said of the honour: “It’s daunting but I’m very excited. It’s something I’ve been pushing for since I started in-post. To be the conducting Warrant Officer for the first mount ever in the Royal Navy is a massive privilege and an honour to do, I’m really looking forward to it.”
The sailors will sport traditional navy blue double breasted greatcoats with white belts, gaiters and caps as well as black boots.