The royal guard is responsible for the administration of the Household Division. The guard is made up of a company of soldiers from a single regiment, which is split in two, providing a detachment for Buckingham Palace and a detachment for St James's Palace.
The guards you see are only a fraction of the total number present. More can come swarming out of the guardroom at a moment's notice. These are highly trained professional soldiers. They're not actors playing a role. They are (along with less visible measures) genuinely protecting the palace. The firearms and bayonets are real and the guards are prepared to use them. A teenager who fired at the King was very nearly impaled. Fortunately, the police got to him first.
How To Become A King's Guard
If you mean the people who stand guard at the palaces - join the British army, select one of the Household Division Regiments, get selected and complete all the normal military training as well as the ceremonial training needed to be able to perform on the battlefield as well as on the parade ground.
First, you have to apply to join the British army either on the Website or at your local recruiting office; you must be a British or a Commonwealth citizen who has been living in the UK for more than five years to apply.
You then specify which regiment you would like to join. To guard the King you must join one of the following regiments, which collectively form the Household Division:
- The Grenadier Guards
- The Coldstream Guards
- The Irish Guards
- The Welsh Guards
- The Scots Guards
- Blues and Royals
- The Life Guards
Depending on your age you will either head straight off to the 36-week basic training or complete the 49-week course at AFC Harrogate.
However, guarding the King, contrary to popular belief, is not your only job. In the Household Division, you will also see active combat whenever or wherever the government sees fit.
For the million and first time – there is no such thing as the “King’s Guards”, except in the sense that the soldiers detailed at any one time to guard Buckingham Palace are referred to as the King’s Guard.
However, there is no such unit in the British Army. There is the Brigade of Guards: Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh. These are normal combat infantry battalions of the British Army. Their soldiers are all highly trained professionals who take part in normal combat roles. Together with the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals, they make up the Household Division.
They also provide a battalion to carry out ceremonial duties and these are the troops you see dressed in traditional scarlet tunics and bearskin caps.
The two cavalry units provide a mounted ceremonial squadron who are the troops you see on horseback.
On occasion, when the ceremonial units are undertaking their regular military training, the King’s Guard may be found by other units of the British Army. These do not wear the guard’s ceremonial scarlet uniform. Units of the other British armed forces, the Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force also mount the King’s Guard at times.
They all carry their normal service rifles. The sentries do not have live ammunition but it is easily available. The guard is fully trained infantry soldiers who will react to any threat to HM with as much force as is necessary.
The Guard also provides detachments that guard the Tower of London and the Bank of England.
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