IamA Queens Guard I stand outside Buckingham palace and other royal residences AMA!
I am a member of the British army Household division and besides being a combat soldier i also do ceremonial duty outside of Buckingham palace, the tower of London and other royal residences
my proof me and a mate messing around in tunics a while back when the sun was last seen http://imgur.com/nTS0XwB
need any more proof just ask
EDIT iall verified
edit: thanks for all your questions. its been awesome talking to you all knowing that people now know more about what i do, i hope it gets you interested enough to come and visit London :)
haha yea they sometimes throw out funny songs like that every now and then the best one iv heared was the darth vader theam tune then Indiana jones
do the guards do anything else other than stand there? ive never been to britain but the stereotype for the guards is that they just stand there and do nothing until their shift is over. do you actually have duties while you're standing out there?
when we are on the post we just stand there and guard our post
This is now my favorite AMA.
You give amazing look wearing red coats and those large black fur hats; is it tough to maintain that look standing for a lot of time. Thanks for AMA.
it is tough sometimes especialy on your 3rd post on the second day of guards it dose get a bit hard :)
That's why you wear those hats, right?
na its because in the old days it made us more intimidating. also when cavalry charged us they would aim for the heads, which is why we wear the chinstrap under our nose so the hat would come on if hit without braking out necks.
You might have seen so many state heads, Prime Ministers, presidents, etc.How you feel?
it is an amazing felling at first, iv seen and spoken to so many people that are only realy seen on tv. but i have been doing this for 5 years now and some of the initial magic is gone. although i still feel greatly privileged to be doing what i do.
Canadian Grenadier here, 1) Have you ever been in a situation where you pointed your weapon at the fence?? 2) Have you ever fainted while on guard duty?? 3) Do you like it when tourists mess with you
hi 1) yea only once or twice when a few drunk men came up to the fence on St James and tried to get over the fence but the police dealt with them quickly :)
2) i almost have a few times when the weather was extreme but i have seen many of my fellow guardsman faint and fall full force to the face
3) sometimes it is fun but if im having a bad day it realy bothers me sometimes
Have you ever had anyone accuse you of being a goat or bull because you are stamping?
no but alot of people try to mock the way we march by doing it all wrong which is sometimes annoying :P
What are the qualifications you must have?
a good score on the barb test to get into the army. the test is of your basic logic and smarts :P
and you must be tall
Do you provide actual security or is the guard duty completely ceremonial?
mostly ceremonial but we do provide security also
What is the weirdest thing someone has done try and make you talk or laugh?
people do some realy weird things like try stair you out, try to make you jump and all, but the weirdest one iv had was a woman walked up to me and full on kissed me tried getting some tounge in to i was in a compleat shock but she was pretty so i let it go :P
How long is a "shift" of standing there?
2 hours shifts twice maby 3 times a day depending on how many guards we have and what time of year it is
in summer we do 24 hours and in winter 48
did you laugh or react at all?
i try not to but sometimes you just cant help it some people are just to funny
Do you carry live rounds when on duty? Ever met the queen personally? How do you get picked for the job?
you only carry live rounds if there is a high threat level that someone will attack, but i have never carried any. yes i have shes extreamly nice :P you get asked when you go into the rcruting office for the army
Have you had any awkward conversations with the royals
iv seen a few times prince harry go out in the early afternoon and have to be carred back in on a body guards sholder becuse he was drunk out of his mind :)
You have been banned from /r/BuckinghamPalace
Why exactly is it that you aren't allowed move?
its to show that we aere always disciplined and alert just like you'd expect a guard to the queen to be
Are you allowed to shout at people who are being disrespectful to you? Like messing with you etc? If someone touches you is it game over for them?
Im reality how much responsibility do you have for guarding the royals? Is it mostly for show or are you on alert for suspicious people?
you are aloud to get them away by shouting at them warnings if they fail to move away or starting to act agesivly we present our beyonets to them to remind them that we can do more harm than them, but usualy the police are quick and remove troble makers
also our role has droped alot over time we used to be fully guarding now it is more cerimonal the guarding part is done mostly by the police but when we are not standing outside we are in the guardroom if there is a major incident we go out armed and deal with it if we are needed
also depending on the threat level at the time we can be posted with ammo on the guard for extra protection,
but this is extreamly rear and people should not go and try to provoke the guards it just not respectful
I'll never forget when we were at the Tower of London and a group of tourists were in his group's way, so a beefeater shouted "Make way for the Queen's Guard!"
yea its fun to shout
we present our beyonets to them to remind them that we can do more harm than them
If you were to stab a tourist, what would happen? Say you are operating completely within your legal rights to stab people. What would happen?
we are legaly aloud to atttack and kill people that pose a threat to life of myself or others if i was put in a situation were i had to disable someone with my wepon the person getting on the wrong end of my bayonet would be treated for his injuryies and arrested but there would be an investigation on if it was aloud, if it was nothing would happen to me :P
Alright- hands down worst person you've ever had to deal with. If not sure, what happens if someone happens to get past you guys on guard? (To the perpetrator)
some drunk freanch men who thought it would be funny to run past me and climb the fence, to who i presented my bayonet at them... i think they were more shoked that i moved thatn the fact that a wepon was pointing at them they were arrested and charged with treaspasing on the queens proberty
What are your thoughts or review of the Americans and their process on their guards at The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier?
i respect them greatly, i am also extremely impressed by the silent drillers from the usa aswell
How heavy is the hat?
about 2-4kg heavier if it gets wet
Google Never Wet. It is a spray on super hydrophobic product. I would link to it but m on my phone. Bring it up and buy some so your superiors can see. If you treat your hats they won't absorb water.
hmm worth a try but if it damages it i have to pay the bill of £400 lol. ill try it on a small part first
Dont use it. It leaves a slight discoloration. A white film when used. This product will certainly discolor the black fur on the helmet.
thanks saved me explaning why im the only one wearing a white bearskin
Have you ever met/spoken to the Queen?
yea when i was on guard at winsor castle she came up to me with her husband and the dogs and asked me some questions shes realy nice :P and the duke of Edinburgh is realy tall
I know as a long distance runner/cyclist the hardest thing to do at times isn't the actual physical activity but rather trying to occupy my mind. I often have hypothetical conversations with the people I pass (they're all very flattering!) just to stave off the boredom after an hour or so. Wondering how you cope with that?
its true it dose get a bit boring sometimes, i tend to sing songs in my head or try to remember as much of a movie from start to finish in my head, iv gotten pritty good at that...
also somtimes i just people watch, since their doing it to me,
when im really bored i like to mess peoples pictures up, when a load of Asian tourists came and set up a huge picture i waited untill the camera man was counting down to take the pic then marched up and down my post untill they all left :) a little evil i know but it is a long ass time
On a related note, how long is your detail, and do you have multiple details in a day?
yea 2 or 3 times depending on the time of year
If I go to London, and see one guard I'll be "Nibs123?"
If you say to me are you a redditor ill make sure to nod lol :)
Has anyone ever been able to make you laugh while on duty?
yes quite a few times to be fair. just depends on the person making me lauf
Do you have to be born in the UK or can you be from a commonwealth country and join the queens guard?
you can be commonwealth there are lot of commonweath soldiers in the guards :P
How about an estimated number on how many people try to break your bearing each day?
on an average day easily more than a 200 people will proberbly try and get me to move laugh or react
So you must have a pretty good poker face by now, huh?
nope i always seem to lose.....
How did you actually get the position? And why? Are you proud of this position?
you join the army and if you look like a good candedate they ask you if you want to do it
i am still a full time soldier first so i am proud of that but aswell as being a soldier i also do guards so i am verry proud of what i do
Thank you for your service, I've always admired the discipline and skill that have become synonymous with the Guards.
Just some admiration from a Canadian.
thank you for taking the time to write that :)
On your job. are you ever tempted to.. you know, pop an ipod in your hat, listen to a long book or something.
iv had a try of everything but nonne realy work
Did a quick search in the comments and I don't think this has been asked.
What are the consequences for laughing (if any)?
Hope you can get to this, as I'm pretty late to the party. Thanks for the AMA btw.
yes there is, you useualy get charged a few days to a weeks pay for moving on parade usualy about 200 quid not fun :(
Are your hats made of real bear fur?
yes they tried synthetic ones but the colour runs to easily
but dont think that there are lots made every year we only get new ones if the old ones are to far gone to repair.
the one i have now is from 1968 it says on the inside :)
yes you are aloud to take as many pics as you want with us come up and say hi we wont reply but its always nice to be talked to. you should go and poke us in the face but if you brush up when taking a photo it shouldnt be anything about it.
and no we wont just kill you there has to be imidiate danger to the public or ourselfs for us to move :P
yep you can do what you want as long as it donsnt stop me doing my job
I once got shouted at by one of you lovely fellows when I was a wee bit pissed on a sunny weekend a few years ago. Nothing came of it and I buggered off sharpish! Have you been deployed at all? Keep up the good work and I have a large amount of appreciation for what you do, cheers!
haha its just all in good fun
and yes i was in aghanistan from the start to the end of 2012
When it gets unusually warm, how do you deal with the heat and sweat? I assume you can't wipe the sweat off your brow.
nope just have to man up and stand there if it gets ridiculous they somtimes come out and give you a drink of water or juice the worst part of hot weather is the drill boots polish melts in direct heavy sunlight and we have to re do them
What kind of polish do you use?
On black leather boots, I use Kiwi black polish for every day and parade gloss with a coat of quik shine for formal events. I would imagine you probably use something with a high wax content like Parade Gloss every day.
we honey wax our boots to get them hard enough to hold the polish, we only use kiwi because paraid gloss is crap at layering. i use a tiny bit of brown kiwi at the last shine to get the shine deeper
edit thats on our guard boots. or normal around camp boots just brush on brush of normal black kiwi
Awesome, I can't believe I just got boot polishing advice from an actual Queens' guard. God I love the internet.
Follow-up question, I find that using waxy polishes too often can cause cracking. Do you have this problem with Honey Wax? What do you recommend for caring for the health of the leather?
well i take of the pollish of the whole boot when it starts to crack and i start again it keeps the leather healthy if you do this
but if i cant be arsed, i just go over the boot with a hand jet burner and flash burn the polish, leave it to cool. this melts the polish and resets it smooth but if you do this to much, the polish is gona be falling of in huge chunks before long.
Has a woman fully stripped in front of you to get to you to move before?
some women flash their breasts at me before which was a nice change to my day
Do you have a girlfriend? Does this stuff bother her?
yea and my job dosnt nessesery bother her but i live 230 miles away from were i work and only get to see her on weekends so its a strain sometimes
Is it true that you can't move or show any emotion? What is the craziest/funniest thing people off the street have gotten you to laugh at?
no it is not entierly true, you are aloud to move but only to turn to the left march about 10 paces turn around and go back to standing still its best to do this every 10 mins or so to stop yourself from fainting from the blood that gets traped in your legs :)
How much chocolate do you keep in your hat?
loads lol, none really
what is the most awkward experience you have been in and have you ever fallen for someones trick?
on a parade in front of a large crowd one of my fellow guardsmen needed to relive himself and couldn't hold it any longer he was on the front row and left a huge obvious puddle were he was some of the crowd noticed and started laufing,
there are a load more but i think some are a bit rude lol
How long will you be posted to the household division? Is it a permanant posting, or a reward? Also, what sort of access to the grounds of the royal residences while on duty? Thanks :)
when you join the army you get asked if you want to join the gaurds if you look like you will be able to hanndel it
Which country's tourists are the best and worst?
the best i cant realy tell just polite people in general are nice who recognise its not easy and i am a person under the bearskin the worst are general French kids i dont mind French people its just the kids are always especially anoying in there attitude
Are those Bearskin hats actually comfortable?
not realy if you get it in a good position and it is a good enough size it will feel alright but after 2 hours it gives me quite bad headaches
Best experience so far?
Russia 2010 for the ve parade we were the first British troops to march in red square, the royal wedding was also a really nice thing to say i was part of :)
What was your job in the royal wedding?
i was in the guard of honour in the front of Buckingham palace
As an American student who camped out in front of the palace that night then managed to stay in the front that morning... Thanks for being you :)
are you allowed to go to the bathroom?
how close have you been from any member of the Royal Family?
no your not aloud to leave your post exept in a situation were someone is in need of help or danger
and iv been close to most of the royals they come and talk to us on post ask how we are doing and what not
How do you get in the zone to try to stop people from messing with you?
just think about other things or people watch is always fun sometimes i mess with people and stuff :P
How would you go about with dealing an itch "down there"?
leave it untill it gose away of scream inside untill you forget what it was :P
but thats all you can do realy
has anyone ever tried to twerk or try any other disgusting on you while on the job?
iv had some people try hug be that obviously not showered in a few days
How does your job not bore you to death?
somtimes it dose but its not all about the standing part i am an actual soldier as well which is prity dam fun somtimes :)
How well does your job pay?
not bad i get £1300 basic pay when i started which is now £1600 after a few years
£1600 per how long? Week? Fortnight? Where I live salaries are usually quoted per month and I've noticed Americans tend to use years but those seem far too long – what's the standard in UK?
its per month and thats £2581.12 per month
Can we please get some more proof? Feel free to send to the moderators if it needs to be confidential. (At the bottom of the sidebar on the right is "message the moderators".)
i will do that now :)
If a tourist came up and politely asked if they could stand next to you for a photo (instead of just doing so), what would you do?
usualy nod a little if the ask :P
As an Irish republican I find it hard not to find your job a terrible waste of time, money, and resources.
This is not a reflection on you as a person, just an view on the monarchy as a whole.
i used to think that but then i realized how many tourists come and see the guards changing and other parades which promotes local businesses and industry from wich i mean they come and by merchandise of little guardsmen and other things like eat at resterants in the area. i know that some of them come to Britain only to see the royal palaces so it dose bring in money.
if anything this is kind of the only part of the millitary that actualy bring in money :P
but your point is completely justified alot of money is spent on farsing around to look good
Sorry, but that photo does not prove that you are either of the people in the picture.
Can you take a picture of you in the uniform now with a sign that says your username? Or maybe you have some sort of ID that shows that you do this?
its 23:37 here im not going to get in uniform now and no i cant send pictures of my army ID that would be illigall im getting it verified by the mods :)
Hey went to London this summer. Saw the changing of the guards. The band played the Austin Powers Theme song, and I almost died laughing! How often does stuff like that happen?
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