Sailors prepare for Royal Navy's first Changing the Guard

Sailors from the Royal Navy are getting ready to perform their first Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

Eighty-six sailors from 45 Royal Navy Ships and establishments have been learning the intricate routines and drill movements needed for the historic royal guarding duties at the Queen's London residence.

They are also preparing for ceremonial guarding at Windsor Castle, St James's Palace and the Tower of London.

The duty traditionally falls to one of the five Foot Guards Regiments from the Army's Household Division, but this is believed to be the first time the Royal Navy are mounting the Queen's Guard.

Other members of the Naval Service - The Royal Marines - have completed the Queen's Guard on three occasions.

The sailors will be dressed in pristine navy blue double breasted greatcoats with white belts, white caps, white gaiters and black boots.

The Royal Navy Changing the Guard will take place at the Palace on Sunday November 26, followed by Windsor Castle on Monday November 27.

Tourists to the UK
Tourists to the UK

Warrant Officer Eddie Wearing, the Navy's state ceremonial training officer, said: "It's daunting but I'm very excited. It's something I've been pushing for since I started in-post.

"To be the conducting Warrant Officer for the first mount ever in the Royal Navy is a massive privilege and an honour to do, I'm really looking forward to it."

Lieutenant Commander Steve Elliott, 44, from Portsmouth, will lead the sailors in the role of Captain of the Queen's Guard - believed to be the first in the Royal Navy since Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587.

Lt Cdr Elliott said: "As we march out of Wellington Barracks for the first time I'm fairly sure everyone will grow a good eight to 10 inches.

"It's great to do this ceremonial piece and have the Royal Navy back in the public eye as well as act as a capstone to the year of the Royal Navy."

Queen presents colours to Coldstream Guards
Queen presents colours to Coldstream Guards

The sailors have also been practising with drill instructors from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards to perfect their routines.

Since 1660, Household Troops have guarded the monarch and the Royal Palaces.

Hundreds of tourists gather to watch the colourful spectacle of the Changing the Guard ceremonies at Buckingham Palace and Windsor.

During the ceremony, which is also known as Guard Mounting, the Old Guard - the guards currently on duty - line up in front of the Palace and are replaced by the New Guard which arrives from Wellington Barracks.

The New Guard is accompanied by a Band or Corps of Drums and the ceremony represents a formal handover of responsibilities.