1. Sometimes the guards turned up to work drunk!
The rumours are true, one of the Queen’s guards revealed that sometimes officers turned up to their shift still drunk from the night before. Most of the time they were allowed to carry on fulfilling their duty, unless they were told to sleep it off in one of the palace rooms!
2. You have to pass a test to become a member of the Queen’s Guard
They might just stand there all day long without moving a muscle, but being a member of the Queen’s Guard is a serious military job and candidates have to pass the ‘British Army Recruit Battery’ which is a test that assesses their basic logic and smarts.
3. Those huge guns aren’t actually loaded most of the time
Their weapons might look intimidating and scary, but the Queen’s Guard only carry loaded guns if there is a serious security threat looming. In fact, one guard actually confessed that he had never carried a loaded gun during his time as a guardsman!
4. The guards give each other ridiculous nicknames!
One of the guards infamously revealed some of the outrageous nicknames they gave to each other during their time serving Queen. These names included “Doug the Slug” because he was known for being lazy on duty, and another was named “Fagin” because of his obsession with the royal family.
5. They hate it when people imitate their walk
The one thing members of the Queen’s Guard can’t stand is…when people imitate their walk! Yes, it may look amusing to the general public when they strut around the palace with their serious facial expressions, but it is best not to annoy them by trying to copy.
6. They were once caught posing on the Queen’s throne
You won’t believe this one…a group of guardsmen once snuck into the Queen’s throne room late a night and took pictures posing on the throne! It might sound scandalous but if you had the chance to be on the seat of royalty, wouldn’t you do it? There have to be some perks of the job.
7. They aren’t allowed a toilet break
You have to be strong-willed to be a member of the Queen’s Guard, but your bladder has to be even stronger! Can you believe they are not allowed to leave their post, even to go to the toilet? We couldn’t imagine having to stand up for hours on end without a break.
8. They helped Prince Andrew sneak women into the palace
This one will grab your attention…one of the guards revealed that they used to help Prince Andrew smuggle women into the palace when the Queen was away! These women were allowed to enter the palace without following security protocols and royal officers were sometimes made to drive them home.
9. They get very bored
This one won’t come as a surprise…despite the Queen’s Guard having a very important job to protect the royal family and palace grounds, one guardsman confessed that the job can get pretty boring just standing there all day every day without being able to move or even speak!
10. There are some circumstances when they are allowed to speak
Ok so maybe the ‘no speaking’ rule isn’t strictly true at all times…there are some exceptions where the Queen’s Guard are allowed to react if members of the public are obstructing their duties. They can shout commands and even shove people out of the way if they’re not paying attention.
11. The hats weigh a tonne
Ok they don’t actually weight a tonne…but they do weigh a lot! The Queen’s Guard have to follow a strict uniform policy, which includes those huge fluffy hats. Each hat weighs up to 4 kilograms which is nearly 9 pounds! Imagine walking round with that on your head all day.
12. They have a ‘ring-around system’ to make sure nobody gets caught sleeping
This clever system devised by the guardsmen was to make sure nobody was caught by their supervisors snoozing on duty as this would get them in a lot of trouble! So to make sure this never happened, the control room was alerted if a senior officer was entering an area in the palace.
13. Their friends help them cheat the entry test
As we mentioned before, there is a rigorous application process to become a member of the Queen’s Guard. So it comes as no surprise that some of the applicants took advantage of being friends with the guards to get tips on how to pass the entry test.
14. They are allowed to do one movement in their shift
A guard revealed they are allowed to do one regular movement: “turn to the left, march about 10 paces, turn around, and go back to standing still”. They are encouraged to do this every 10 minutes as standing still in one place for too long can cause you to faint.
15. One guard was caught selling steroids
Yep, we can’t believe this one either…a member of the Queen’s Guard was allegedly selling steroids to his colleagues from the locker room at Buckingham Palace. One the rumour got out, this guard was put under full investigation and later dismissed from his duties.
16. They let friends and family park at St James’s Palace to go shopping in London
We all know what a nightmare it can be to drive and park in central London, let alone how expensive it can be. So if you’re lucky enough to personally know one of the Queen’s Guards, you might get VIP access to park on the royal grounds if you fancy a trip into the capital.
17. The guards love to gamble
Being a member of the Queen’s Guard is a pretty serious job most of the time, so they like to wind down in their social time on breaks by playing high-risk gambling games. They may start off as light-hearted fun, but apparently some games have ended in tears…
18. The scamming scandal
A young guard scammed his fellow colleagues into investing in a fake scheme he had devised. But it turned out the whole thing was fake and they lost all their money, with senior officers removing the guard in the fear the guards would want revenge.
19. They are fined £200 if they laugh
Although there are some exceptions when the guards can react to members of the public and move around for health purposes, they are never allowed to smile or laugh. Members of the Queen’s Guard are expected to conform with absolute discipline and they are fined £200 if they break these rules.
20. They are some of the most highly trained soldiers in the world
It may not seem like it on the surface, but members of the Queen’s Guard have revealed the intense training they undergo to fulfil their duties and protect royalty. The level of training they receive makes them the most elite and highly skilled soldiers in the armed forces.
21. The real reason they wear black trousers…
Remember when we said the guards aren’t allowed a toilet break? Well, this is why they wear black trousers just in case they have an accident! One of the guards revealed that this happened to one of his fellow guardsmen when they were in a parade in front of a large crowd.
22. The guards aren’t always British
It turns out you don’t have to be a British citizen to be a member of the Queen’s Guard, you can come from any country in the Commonwealth which includes Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It makes perfect sense for these troops to serve as guardsmen, as she is their Queen too after all!
23. Some of the guards carry unloaded guns on purpose…
One guard confessed that some of his fellow guardsmen actually carried their guns around without any bullets on purpose…this is because they were too scared to shoot an intruder. We don’t blame them, the prospect of having to kill someone is a horrible thought!
24. They let people sneak into private parties for money
Yep the rumours are true, one guard revealed that there have been several occasions where guardsmen have let people sneak into the Queen’s parties for cash. This is a serious breach of security protocol, we can only imagine how much trouble they would be in if they got caught…
25. They take their girlfriends on private tours
This is a juicy one…according to one member of the Queen’s Guard, there is an unwritten rule that guards are allowed to raise the barrier for their significant others and sneak them into Buckingham Palace for a private tour. There have to be some perks of the job, right?
26. There is no difference between guards that wear red and grey
Most people have always wondered what the difference is between guards that wear red and those that wear grey…but it turns out the guards just wear different uniforms depending on the season. The red tunics are worn in spring and summer, whereas the grey coats are worn during autumn and winter.
27. They have to faint in a particular way
Yes, you heard correctly, there is a certain way members of the Queen’s Guard are allowed to faint. If they start to feel light-headed, they are expected to remain in their still position and “faint to attention”…which is why there are photographs of guardsmen lying flat on their face!
28. They don’t just protect Buckingham Palace…
Most people think the Queen’s Guard are only there to protect Buckingham Palace and the surrounding grounds, but their duty is actually to protect all residences of the monarch. This includes Windsor Castle, St. James’ Palace, and the Tower of London!
29. Drug scandal
According to the confession of one member of the Queen’s Guard, some of them used their position of power to help drug dealers smuggle drugs using royal vehicles. Nobody would ever think to stop a car which belonged to the Queen, so they could get away with it!
30. There aren’t as many guards as you might think…
People think there are hundreds of guards when they seen big royal ceremonies, but the Queen’s Guard actually only consists of 3 officers and 36 soldiers. When the Queen is in residence, there are four guards at the front of Buckingham Palace and only two when she is away.
31. Being Drunk On Shift Can Cause Dangerous Issues…
Image Source / Reuters
Seeing as the guards are permitted to still work when they’ve had too much to drink, it only follows that accidents can happen. There was one time when an officer who was pretty hungover was in charge of the barrier to the palace gates – and instead of lifting the barrier for someone, pressed the underground ramp button instead.. yeeting the poor woman’s car.
32. The Entry Test Is Ridiculously Easy
Image Source / Showbiz Cheat Sheet
If you have common sense, that is. While the guards can help each other out by having their friends tip them off about questions, it’s really not needed when you consider how easy the questions really are… For example, one of them might be “Is it okay to read a book while guarding?” which of course would be a big fat nope.
33. Members Of The Royal Family Have Nicknames, Too
Image Source / The Royal Family
We’ve mentioned that the guards have very stupid (and rather insulting) nicknames for each other, but the guards also have nicknames for members of the royal family, too. The Queen’s call sign was ‘Purple One’ and Prince Philip was known as ‘Phil the Greek’. Prince Andrew had a rather colourful nickname, too…
34. Porn Was Sold In The Palace Locker Rooms, Too
Image Source / London
Not only were steroids bought and exchanged in the locker room, but pornography was exchanged in the palace locker room, too. It was part of a rather successful trade which just shows the ‘seedy’ goings on that can happen even behind the scenes in a palace…
35. Guards Have Been Known To Accidentally Let Off Their Weapons
Image Source / Wikipedia
While not all the guns are loaded all of the time, some of them definitely are – and they can be accidentally triggered, too. One guard set off his weapon not once, but twice, whilst on the Queen’s train during his guard duty. He was even given the nickname ‘Two Shots’ for his blunder.
36. Some Guards Have Threatened Themselves, And Others, With Their Guns
Image Source / London Eye
In a dark twist, some guards have even threatened to turn their gun on themselves.. in these worst cases, guards can be talked out of it and have their weapon confiscated. Some guards have even threatened to shoot people (outside of their role) using their weapon, and obviously the proper measures have to be put into place.
37. Attacks Might Actually Be Planned In The Locker Room, Too
Image Source / Bucket List Journey
As part of the previous ‘fake scheme’ scandal, the guards also plotted some pretty terrible stuff, too. Officers wanted to give a constable a kick in he locker room, whilst also plotting to driving a car through the living room. Luckily, word of the attack got out and the situation managed to be diffused…
38. The Queen’s Garden Parties Were Sometimes Gatecrashed
Image Source / The Royal Family
The people who paid money into this scam scheme were also given access they most certainly shouldn’t have had to the queen’s parties at the palace. It was a promise that certain investors would be snuck in the back door, as it were, to be able to join in on the festivities..
39. And Brown Envelopes Stuffed With Cash Were Exchanged, Too
Image Source / Shopee Philippines
Of course, a scammy scheme would draw in a lot of cash, too, and apparently guards passed around envelopes stuffed with wads of cash for other guards, too. The cash was delivered in vehicles which conveniently weren’t seen on CCTV after the cameras happened to have been turned off..
40. The Vehicles Used For Buckingham Palace Were Used For Guards Own Errands
Image Source / This is Money
When the con came to a breaking point, the guard behind it all also had to throw in a few ‘perks’ for those duped investors, including being able to use the luxury vehicles (like the palace’s Range Rover) to drive about. Another perk was ‘free’ luxury holidays.
41. The Guard Behind The Scam Even Had A Hitman Hired For Him
Image Source / The Times
When things really got out of control, the people who had invested their money in the guard’s fake deal even hired a hitman to kidnap or kill the guard when the truth about the scam came out. The man survived, but eventually went to prison for his role in the money scam.
42. The Hats Are Worn In A Certain Way To Avoid Snapping Their Neck
Image Source / Union Leader
We already mentioned those hats are heavy, but it’s more than just having something uncomfortable on your head – there’s also the risk of the guard’s neck actually snapping if the weight of the hat was to be pulled off in a certain way. The placement of the straps is very specifically to avoid that fatal snap if the hat was to come off. Eek.
43. Bears Were Actually Harmed To Make The Hats
Image Source / Insider
The hats that five the Queen’s Guard that iconic look are actually made from real bear fur. Synthetic furs attempted to be used at one point to avoid using real fur but apparently the colours ran far too easily. But the guards do try to avoid replacing the hats at any time unless they’re desperately needed and unable to be repaired.
44. Standing Still Carries A Health Risk For The Guards
Image Source / Interchoice Holidays
Of course, as we know, lack of movement all day long – whether standing in one place or sitting down – carries health risks, and for these guards, the risk is the blood pooling in their legs from them not being able to move at all. So alongside boredom, it must be pretty worrying to stand still for that long, too.
45. The Hot Weather Compromises Their Boots
Image Source/ Twitter
The hot weather is problematic for these guards for many obvious reasons, but did you know it also affects their boots? Apparently sweltering temperatures can cause the boot polish on their boots to melt so that the guards are forced to redo them for appearances sake!
46. It Was Not Unheard Of For Them To Have A Casual Chat With The Queen
Image Source / Twitter
And not just at official events, either. If a guard is lucky enough, he might have a passing chat with the reigning monarch. It wasn’t unheard of for the Queen herself to approach a guardsman and ask him some questions or have a quick chat – especially with her dogs in toe.
47. The Hats Become Even Heavier When Wet
Image Source / Daily Mail
It makes sense, as we all know things do get heavier when they’re dripping with water, but think about this gigantic already-weighing-a-tonne bear fur hats getting absolutely soaked! The thick fur holding all that water in a downpour must be horrific to deal with, and especially if you still have to stand there like a statue.
48. Foot Guards Will Be From One Of Five Possible Regiments
Image Source / NBC News
There are five different regiments, which are: the Grenadier Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Irish Guards and the Scots Guards. A guard’s regiment is recognisable by the subtle differences in their uniforms, such as the spacing of the buttons or a plume on their hat.
49. They Definitely Won’t Flash You A Smile For A Selfie
Image Source / LADbible
You’re welcome to take a photo with the guards, but don’t expect a smile on the photo – or for them to even look at the camera. Guards aren’t going to willingly smile for photographs – though of course many, many tourists give it a darn good go!
50. They Have A Lot Of Confrontations With Members Of The Public
Image Source / emily3824214 – WordPress.com
You would think that people just doing their job – and especially such an important one – would just be left alone, but it’s amazing how many times guards get into verbal altercations with the public who don’t understand the rules. Not only that, but there may be physical bumping if a tourist is stood in the way when a guard are on patrol and can’t amend their pattern!