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King's Guard don't spend their entire shift stood in front of Buckingham Palace

Daisy Phillipson

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King's Guard don't spend their entire shift stood in front of Buckingham Palace

Featured Image Credit: Dinodia Photos/Alamy Loop Images LTD/Alamy

Judging by how often the King's royal guards pass out, you might assume that the men in the funny hats spend their entire shift stood in front of Buckingham Palace.

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However, it turns out their job entails a lot more than just guarding the royal residences.

Don't get us wrong, it is part of the job description - just not all of it.

The King's Guard - formerly the Queen's Guard until Queen Elizabeth II's recent passing - is the name given to the contingent of infantry responsible for guarding Buckingham Palace and St James's Palace, including Clarence House in London.

They are best known for their bearskins (those tall fur hats), red tunics, and for standing completely still - except when they've had enough of the general public.

According to Changing the Guard, guardsmen will typically have two hours on sentry duty and four hours off, giving enough time for their bodies and minds to recover.

There's more to the King's Guard than funny hats. Credit: Krys Bailey/Alamy Stock Photo
There's more to the King's Guard than funny hats. Credit: Krys Bailey/Alamy Stock Photo

It might not sound like much, but keeping your body completely still for a long period of time can cause exhaustion, muscle strain, lower back pain and swelling of the feet - hence why you often see them faint during longer events or in hot weather.

As well as sentry duty, they are also responsible for patrolling the grounds of the palaces at night.

And perhaps most surprising at all is that these guards also perform duties around the world as professional soldiers, who have a reputation as some of the most skilled troops in the British army.

So there's a lot more to the position than just standing there looking moody.

If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, then you might be interested to know that Beefeaters get a much sweeter deal.

Beefeaters get to live in the Tower of London. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Beefeaters get to live in the Tower of London. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Yeomen Warders, as they're also known, are responsible for guarding the Tower of London - and the precious Crown Jewels that lay inside.

Earlier this year, the Tower's parent group Historic Royal Palaces announced it had two Beefeater positions to fill, with a fair few perks on offer.

First up, the salary's not bad at up to £30,000 a year, but perhaps best of all is that they get to live on site and give tours of the 1,000-year-old fortress.

Sure, the uniform's questionable - take a look at those hats - but it's certainly outweighed by the living situation.

The job isn't for people who like the typical 9-5 schedule, as it involves 37 hours a week for 14 days out of every three weeks, including weekends and the odd night shift too.

Yeoman Warders give tours of the famous fortress. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Yeoman Warders give tours of the famous fortress. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

But if this sounds like your dream gig, don't go writing your cover letter just yet.

Let it be known that in order to apply you'd need to have served at least 22 years in the British or Commonwealth armed forces and be a former warrant officer with both the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

Better luck next time, eh?

Topics: King Charles III, The Queen, Royal Family, London, UK News

Daisy Phillipson
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