Three soldiers who have been guarding the Royal family at St James’s Palace have appeared in a video clip apparently snorting cocaine from of a ceremonial sword. The clip which was originally reported in The Sun, and subsequently in other tabloids, allegedly showed Major James Coleby snorting the white powder of a ceremonial sword. The white powder had been placed on the sword by Captain Alex Ritchie, whilst the incident was filmed by Lieutenant Charles Mclean. The clip was obtained by The Sun when the Lieutenant accidently posted it to on a group message by accident
The taking of any form of controlled substances is banned whilst in military service and all ranks are subject to compulsory drug checks. These should not be confused with anything that athletes may strive to be available for, these are barrack-wide checks where no soldier can leave the base until they have been checked.
Whilst at this stage, it cannot be ascertained what the substance was, it will clearly result in an investigation and an increased likelihood of random checks. The officers will also clearly be facing some form of punishment in the future, as even if this was some form of a joke with icing sugar of similar substance it is not really the way that army officers, especially those guarding members of the Royal family should be seen in the media. A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed three soldiers were facing an investigation. He added: “The Army expects all personnel to stick to its high standards and any found to fall short are disciplined robustly.”
It is not the first time that a member of the army guarding the Royal family has been seen making light of their duties. In 2014, a Grenadier Guard was investigated after a video emerged of him apparently dancing and performing funny walks whilst on sentry duty at Buckingham Palace. With regards to this incident, with the majority of the Royal Family at Balmoral, only Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice are staying at St James’s Palace and are understood to have been out when the offence occurred.