One of the most popular security structures in the world – The Queen’s Guard – is famous for its unique appearance, strict discipline, and, of course, professionalism. Guardsmen have long ceased to play an exclusively protective role: they are an important part of the culture of England itself. Therefore, the requirements for the soldiers are very strict.
We found out what rules exist for the Royal Guards and what you need to be able to do to become a part of the elite British troops.
1. Strict selection
Only the best soldiers of the British Army are selected for the Royal Guard. The guys serve on a contract basis, but despite the prestige and importance of this activity, the average salary is about 1,884 pounds (2398.52 USD) per month, which is not that big of an amount by UK standards. The amount also fluctuates depending on the service life.
2. Uniform color with subtext
Thanks to the red color of the uniform, the royal guards are always recognizable. However, this shade was originally chosen from the point of view of practicality. The fact is that red is the most difficult color to perceive, and at a distance, such a military uniform merges into one bright color block so that the enemy cannot accurately assess the scale of the British troops that are attacking him.
In addition, red uniforms are considered lighter and are worn by soldiers mainly in spring and summer. They are wearing the blue-gray elongated coats in the colder season.
3. Bear cap for respect
Tall black hats were used as early as the 17th century. Then the soldiers of the French and British armies wore them to appear taller and thus intimidate the enemy. The caps themselves are made of bear fur, which is why animal activists are constantly organizing protests. The design of this headdress was going to be changed, but the government made a weighty argument in favor of natural fur: unlike artificial fur, it does not deteriorate in any weather.
4. Strong neck
And it’s not a joke. In accordance with the dress code, the Royal Guards wear heavy hats at all times. The weight of this headgear can be up to 4 kg. Also, in rainy weather, hats get wet and become even heavier. Therefore, the men from the royal guard must have good physical fitness.
It should also be noted the special fastening of this wardrobe item – the belt goes under the lip. This is necessary to protect the soldier’s neck in combat. If suddenly the guardsman is injured, then the heavy hat will simply fall back and not hurt his neck, as it could have happened if it was kept on a strap under the chin.
5. Ban on conversations
Like other military men, soldiers of the royal army are not allowed to communicate with each other during service. Even if their colleague became ill and, for example, lost consciousness, the guardsmen must stand still, indestructible and silent. However, they may yell at you if you block their way. In such cases, they usually proclaim: “Road to the royal guard!”
6. Fainting accordingly
Due to the fact that the guards have to carry weapons and heavy items of clothing, as well as stand to attention in the summer heat, it is not surprising that they often faint. That is why there are special rules for soldiers to faint: it is forbidden to roll to the side or sway, and even more so, you cannot drop your weapon, stand on one knee or lower your hands. You need to fall face forward while continuing to hold the rifle with the bayonet up.
7. Penalty for smiling
It seems that one of the favorite pastimes of tourists when visiting London is trying to cheer up a guard. Literally everyone tries to make the stern soldier even hint of a smile. Nonetheless, the guards serve the queen and must behave accordingly with strict discipline. If the leadership sees a smiling soldier, he will be fined approximately 200 pounds (₽ 19 398).
8. Whether the queen is at home
You can also find out if the queen is at home with the help of the guards. So, when Elizabeth II is in Buckingham Palace, the gate is guarded by 4 soldiers, when Her Majesty is absent – only 2. According to the rules, the sentries must stand at the post for 2 hours, and then can rest for four.