RAF 100 Flypast

Coverage of the RAF centenary flypast of Buckingham Palace including the F-35B Lightning II.

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The First Changing of the Queen’s Guard by the Royal Navy at Buckingham Palace

Royal Navy sailors have performed the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace for the first time in the ceremony’s 357-year history. Eighty-six sailors from 45 Royal Navy ships and establishments spent a month preparing ahead of the first ceremony on Sunday morning.

Representing many branches of the Royal Navy, the Senior Service’s traditional navy blue uniforms have replaced for a short period, the distinctive red tunics worn by the Foot Guards. Starting at Buckingham Palace in full show of the general public, they are also set to Mount Royal Guards at Windsor Castle, The Tower of London and St James’s Palace over the next few weeks.

“The last time the Navy had an operational role guarding the Queen was with Elizabeth the first, when Sir Walter Raleigh was appointed Captain of the Queen’s Guard in 1587,” said Captain of the Queen’s Guard, Lieutenant Commander Steve Elliot and Raleigh’s successor in the role. “So it goes back a little while.”

Former guardsman nearly shot the Queen?

queen-elizabeth-iiIt has been reported by Grant Tucker of The Times Diary that the Queen was almost shot by one of her guardsman during one of her night time walks around Buckingham Palace.

Although Tucker does not reveal the name of the former guardsman who told him the story or when it happened he does reveal that the soldier in question was patrolling the grounds at around 3am when he spotted a figure in the darkness. Believing an intruder was on the ground he raised his rifle and demanded the figure identify themselves.

To his shock he heard the monarch’s voice reply that it was her to which Tucker claims the soldier said, “Bloody hell, Your Majesty, I nearly shot you!” It seems Her Majesty saw the funny side of things because Tucker says that the Queen joked that she would ring through next time she felt like a night time walk so that he wouldn’t have to shoot her.

NEWS: Animal rights campaigners criticise British Army over royal ceremonial headgear

British Army Buckingham Palace Hats

The Ministry of Defence and the Army have come under attack from animal rights campaigners after it emerged that 127 bearskins have been ordered from Canada to be used in making the traditional headgear worn by guards at Buckingham Palace. Using real Canadian Black Bear fur to make the 18in-tall headgear has provoked such an angry response that the MoD refuses to reveal its supplier for fear of attacks on the supplier’s staff.

The ceremonial headgear has been worn by British soldiers for 200 years to symbolise the victory over Napoleon’s bearskin-wearing Imperial Guard at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Among the units of the British Army that wear them are the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards, and Welsh Guards – some of the most historic units in the British Army.

The MoD has said that they have made efforts to replace the fur with synthetic equivalent but they proven “unsuccessful”.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a statement saying:

It is inexcusable that the same army which is capable of building some of the most sophisticated equipment and machinery in the world claims it is unable to find a synthetic replacement for bearskins despite the availability of luxurious synthetic materials. The fact is that the Ministry of Defence spends tens of thousands of pounds each year supporting the fur industry while doing absolutely nothing to further the search for synthetic materials. For each one of the 127 caps purchased, a bear was cruelly killed, either by being shot during a hunt or ensnared, possibly for days, in a painful trap. During hunts, as many as one bear in seven is not killed immediately after being shot, and some escape wounded, dying later from blood loss or starvation. In the case of mothers with nursing cubs, it can mean the slaughter of entire families.


WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?

SHOULD THE BRITISH ARMY BE ALLOWED TO CARRY ON WITH THIS TRADITION OR SHOULD THEY BE FORCED TO USE SYNTHETIC ALTERNATIVES?

HAVE YOUR SAY BY COMMENTING BELOW. THIS IS AN UNDERSTANDABLY PASSIONATE TOPIC SO PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL.