You know the Queen’s guards; those soldiers in red charged with protecting the Queen and the Royal family of the United Kingdom. Well, here’s 5+1 amazing facts you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask about the soldiers that guard Her Majesty.
6. Their guns are not loaded
Their weapons are usually empty unless there is an extreme threat level. However, this rarely happens. When answering this question when interviewed by Reddit users, a working guardsman revealed that he has never carried a loaded gun.
5. They wear the hats in order to intimidate their enemies
Bearskins (yes, they are made from the fur of black bears) are worn by the Queen’s guard in order to make them taller and more intimidating. The story of how they became a part of the British military tradition is also interesting: They were worn by Napoleon’s elite forces and were captured as trophies by the British forces at the Battle of Waterloo. (the article continues after the ad)
4. They relieve themselves on the spot
If they need to go to the toilet during their 2-hour shifts, they are instructed to just do their necessities without leaving their position. Their thick woolen trousers “are sufficiently dark to cover their embarrassment”, as stated by Guardsman Shaun Marsden.
3. They are actually taught how to faint
Royal guards cannot just fade; they have to do it in style. Royal guards are trained to “faint to attention” – meaning faint while still maintaining their attention pose. This is why the tend to faint just like toy soldiers and end up facing down most of the times, instead of fainting in a more crumpled position.
2. If you get in their way, they’ll just… knock you over
If you happen to get in their way, you’ll hear them shout “MAKE WAY FOR THE QUEEN’S GUARD”. However, if you fail to do so or because there’s just not enough time to warn you, they’ll knock you over. Like they did to this unfortunate man:
1. They are permitted to move
Contrary to popular belief, they are allowed to move and do so regularly even when on guard. In fact, because standing still carries potential health risks, every 10 minutes or so they “turn to the left, march about 10 paces, turn around, and go back to standing still”. That’s the only movements they are allowed.
BONUS FACT. Red was chosen for cost reasons
Because we love these facts and we also love writing, here’s one more. A popular myth is that Guards wear red jackets so that blood will not be visible on the red tunics and demoralise their fellow troops. However, this is not true. Red was chosen due to the fact that red required only one stage at the dyeing process and because red pigment was readily available.
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Photo: Petr Kratochvil / Public Domain Pictures, Wikimedia
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: IamA Queens Guard I stand outside Buckingham palace and other royal residences AMA! | Changing the Guard / Frequently Asked Questions | Royal guards who are taught how to faint