Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Changing of the Guards

I would imagine the most popular spectacle in London is watching the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace. I've attended the ceremony a few times trying to figure out where the best place to take photos, see the Foot Guards arriving and watch the ceremony. If seeing the ceremony is most important, you have to get there at least an hour and a half early so you can get a spot against the gate facing Buckingham Palace. Unless you are a tall person you won't see much of anything if you are not right up against the gate. The main downfall being in that specific spot is not seeing the Foot Guards marching in and leaving the palace.

 I don't have the patience to stand in a spot for almost two hours, especially if I am alone. I was also more interested in seeing the Foot Guards marching down the street toward the palace and then when they were leaving. I found that the best spot is to stand at The Mall on the same side as St. James Park just a little ways down from St. James palace. At approximately 11:15am a detachment of the old guard with the band leaves St. James Palace and head towards Buckingham Palace and right by where I was standing. Once the band and guard passed me, I headed over toward the Bird Cage Walk to see the new guard arrive, which was about 11:30am. It was a bit more crowded but not too bad. The Household Calvary arrives back on The Mall around 11:40am and then you wait until 12pm when the Foot Guards leave the palace and the changing of the guards is complete.  

View of Arch Wellington from Buckingham Palace on Constitution Hill.
Gate between Green Park and Buckingham Palace.  
Buckingham Palace
Victoria Memorial located infront of Buckingham Palace.
Spectators positioned in their spot for the changing of the guards around Victoria Memorial.

Scots Foot Guards marching down The Mall toward Buckingham Palace.
I couldn't get much closer if I tried - they marched right by me.
The new Foot Guard arrives from the Bird Cage Walk.   There are five regiments of Foot Guards in the British Army.  All noted by three specific things: Grouping of buttons on their scarlet tunic, collar badge and plume color on their bearskin cap.

They are the Irish Foot Guards.  They have a blue plume.
This is the Coldstream and Scots Foot Guards.  Red plume are Coldstream and no plume is Scots.
 Household Cavalry arriving.
 The Foot Guards heading back to St. James Palace.  The changing of the guards is complete.
 He looks so young!

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