The historic state helmets and breastplates of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will be replaced for two weeks by the iconic full dress jacket and busby of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The giant black cavalry charger horses will be replaced by neat tough Irish Draught horses ranging in colour from light bay to almost black, and the exclusively all male Cavalry Troopers will be replaced in their duties by one of the most demographically representative units in the Army, as women make up 50% of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
The change is taking place while the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment takes its regular summer equine training break in Norfolk.
Sentries have been posted in the same location at Horse Guards since the Restoration of the Monarchy in the 1600s, when the Palace of Whitehall was the monarch’s main residence.
These days, guards on horseback are on parade from 10am to 4pm, with soldiers on foot staying until the gates are locked at 8pm.
The ceremony of Changing of The Queen’s Life Guard has remained unchanged since the reign of Charles II. On arrival at Horse Guards Parade, the Old Guard forms up on the North side with the New Guard on the South side. As the new Guard arrives each Guard carries their Standard, and the trumpeters of both Old and New Guards sound a Royal Salute on the arrival of the New Guard and on the departure of the Old Guard. When both Guards have formed up the Corporal Major, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and the sentries of the first relief of the New Guard leave for the Guard Room which is then handed over. The sentries of the Old Guard, after being relieved, rejoin the remainder of the Old Guard on the North side of the enclosure before riding off down The Mall.
The ceremony takes place on Horse Guards Parade every day at 11am (10am on Sundays). Your London Blue Badge Tourist Guide will ensure you get the best possible viewpoint for this and for the Guard Change at Buckingham Palace.
(Image by Carfax2 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19948356)