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Five soldiers faint standing guard outside St Paul’s Cathedral for Queen’s thanksgiving service

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Five soldiers have fainted while standing guard outside St Paul’s Cathedral today for the Queen’s thanksgiving Jubilee service.

The separate incidents happened shortly before Prince Charles, who is officially representing the Queen today, arrived at the cathedral for the special ceremony to kick-off Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Those on duty maintained their professionalism and composure, as three soldiers were pictured being helped back to their feet by aids. The Ministry of Defence has since confirmed that a total of five fainted, adding that none required hospital treatment.  

With temperatures of around 20C in London today, standing for hours in the heat and full military uniform, took its toll on each of the guards – all from different regiments – who were inspected and checked over. 

The first soldier – a member of the RAF Regiment – fainted as Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss walked up the front cathedral steps to the service, but was quickly led away by two servicemen to receive medical attention.

Shortly after his collapse, a royal fan tweeted: ‘A soldier has just keeled over, received medical attention and is now back on his feet with a cheer.’ 

Moments later, a second soldier – a member of the royal Canadian artillery – keeled over before continuing to stand guard on the steps of the cathedral, while a member of the Queen’s guard had to be propped up against a wall before being taken to see a paramedic. 

Three soldiers have fainted while standing guard outside St Paul’s Cathedral today for the Queen’s thanksgiving Jubilee service

The first soldier - from the RAF regiment - was led away from St Paul's to recover by two fellow servicemen

The first soldier – from the RAF regiment – was led away from St Paul’s to recover by two fellow servicemen

With temperatures of around 20C in London today, standing for hours in the heat and full military uniform, took its toll on the three guards - all from different regiments

With temperatures of around 20C in London today, standing for hours in the heat and full military uniform, took its toll on the three guards – all from different regiments

The first soldier - a member of the RAF Regiment - fainted as Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss (pictured) walked up the front cathedral steps

The first soldier - a member of the RAF Regiment - fainted as Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss (pictured) walked up the front cathedral steps

The first soldier – a member of the RAF Regiment – fainted as Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss (pictured) walked up the front cathedral steps to the service, but was quickly led away by two servicemen to receive medical attention

The second soldier (pictured) was helped to his feet by a member of staff before continuing to stand guard

The second soldier (pictured) was helped to his feet by a member of staff before continuing to stand guard 

Pictured: The second soldier - a member of the royal Canadian artillery - continued to stand guard on the steps of the Cathedral

Pictured: The second soldier – a member of the royal Canadian artillery – continued to stand guard on the steps of the Cathedral 

Meanwhile, the third soldier, from the Queen's Guardsman, had to be propped up by a wall before being taken to see a paramedic

Meanwhile, the third soldier, from the Queen’s Guardsman, had to be propped up by a wall before being taken to see a paramedic

He was led away by two fellow soldiers to help him recover - as Brits enjoyed another day of 20C weather in the capital today

He was led away by two fellow soldiers to help him recover – as Brits enjoyed another day of 20C weather in the capital today 

A second soldier fainted at today's service

A second soldier fainted at today's service

Moments later, a second soldier – a member of the royal Canadian artillery – keeled over before continuing to stand guard on the steps of the cathedral

It has been reported that at least five guards have fainted at today's thanksgiving service, however only three have been pictured

It has been reported that at least five guards have fainted at today’s thanksgiving service, however only three have been pictured

Soldiers faint due to standing still and locking their knees for too long, reducing blood flow to the head, experts say 

A question of why some soldiers faint during parades was first posed of Dr. Spencer Turner in October of 1973. 

Fainting, also called syncope, is defined by WebMD as the sudden, brief, loss of consciousness and posture caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. 

While there are medical conditions that can cause fainting, what occurs with soldiers during parades is often a simple episode known as a vasovagal attack or neutrally-mediated syncope. 

This type of fainting occurs because blood pressure drops, reducing circulation to the brain and causing loss of consciousness. Typically it occurs while standing and is often preceded by a sensation of warmth, nausea, lightheadedness and visual greyout.

Locking the knees can lead to fainting as it hinders the flow of blood to the brain. 

The lack of circulation often leads to a light-headed feeling and can end in the individual fainting. One of the best way to avoid this situation, if you have to stand for a prolonged period of time, is to bend your knees.

In his original column, Dr Spencer added that if an individual is in warmer temperatures, the blood vessels close to the skin dilate in a bid to circulate more blood closer to the skin’s surface, which cools the body down. 

However this means there is relatively less blood reaching the brain as the vessels widen to carry higher volumes.

In 2019, British soldiers were advised to consume more salt in a bid to stop them fainting at high profile parades – after eight fell unconscious during rehearsals for Trooping the Colour that year. 

Major Iain Parsons of the Royal Army Medical Corps, a cardiologist who was researching the physiology that underpins fainting, told the Times: ‘It increases the plasma volumes, the amount of water in the blood. That means you can stand up for longer. It’s a bit of a trick to hyper-hydrate you.’ 

He also warned that a big breakfast, which is often a tradition among soldiers before the parades, can direct blood flow to the gut, in turn reducing blood flow to the head and risking fainting.  

 Source: Ohio University

It has been confirmed that at least five guards fainted at today’s thanksgiving service, however only three were pictured.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: ‘During today’s Platinum Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving, we can confirm five military personnel fainted while on duty. 

‘The safety of our Armed Forces is our top priority. All five individuals received treatment at the scene and none were transferred to hospital.’ 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan have led the arrivals at St Paul’s Cathedral – as they joined hundreds of politicians and dignitaries in supporting the Queen and the extended Royal family. 

Her Majesty, 96, pulled out of today’s ceremony due to her ongoing mobility issues after she experienced ‘some discomfort’ after attending the Buckingham Palace festivities yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Duke of York tested positive for Covid-19 and will not appear at the Queen’s service today.

Andrew, 62, is understood to have seen his mother the Queen in the last few days but she has tested negative – and he has not seen her since testing positive. 

The Queen’s absence, although sad news to those who wanted a glimpse of her, was widely accepted by those who were due to be inside the Cathedral for the service and those who joined outside in the bright sunshine.

Julie Feehan, who works for BT in Cardiff, said: ‘I came here with a group of friends because we think this may probably be the last time for us to be able to see her Majesty in person.

‘I’m sure she feels as unhappy as we are that she can’t be here, but not one person will hold it against her. She’s done an incredible job.’

Her friend Alison Davies added: ‘She is 96 years old. And we all understand that can be difficult. But her smiles yesterday showed us all much she appreciates us and how much we appreciate her.’

Joseph Afrane, 58, a security guard from Battersea, London, and who was dressed in a Union Jack suit and bowler hat, said: ‘ She has held the monarchy together. ‘

Mr Aftane, also wore a waistcoat with the Queen’s face on it, added: ‘ of course it’s disappointing that she can’t be here.

But I understand it can be difficult wage. Everybody here will send her the biggest tears possible hopefully soon enjoy the rest of this Jubilee weekend.’

Prebendary Alan Green who was officiating at the thanksgiving service, said: ‘ there will be natural disappointment that Her Majesty cannot be here.

‘I am a Republican. But I absolutely feel we have to celebrate the Queen for the wonderful service she has given this country. I believe you can separate the monarchy from the Queen.

‘She is an incredible individual who has given so much during the course of her life.’

Iain Macaulay, Lord-Lieutenant of the Western Isles and who was appointed by the Queen in March, said outside the Cathedral: ‘ her Majesty has given Amanda service to this country.

Those on duty maintained their professionalism and composure, whilst the two soldiers - one a member of the RAF Regiment (Pictured) - were helped back to their feet

Those on duty maintained their professionalism and composure, whilst the two soldiers – one a member of the RAF Regiment (Pictured) – were helped back to their feet

Her Majesty, 96, pulled out of today's ceremony due to her ongoing mobility issues after she experienced ‘some discomfort’ after attending the Buckingham Palace festivities yesterday

Her Majesty, 96, pulled out of today’s ceremony due to her ongoing mobility issues after she experienced ‘some discomfort’ after attending the Buckingham Palace festivities yesterday

A member of the Queen's Guard was propped up against the wall as he sat on a stretcher shortly after he fainted at St Paul's Cathedral

A member of the Queen’s Guard was propped up against the wall as he sat on a stretcher shortly after he fainted at St Paul’s Cathedral 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning

Prince Charles and Camilla arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London this morning

Prince Charles and Camilla arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning

The Duchess of Cambridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning

Prince Charles - who is officially representing the Queen in he absence - arrived with his wife Camilla

Prince Charles – who is officially representing the Queen in he absence – arrived with his wife Camilla 

‘It is a shame that she won’t be able to attend the service. But she will be watching and she will see that there is so much appreciation in this country for the services that she has given our country.

‘I understand why she can’t be here. She is 96 years old and things clearly get difficult when you get to that stage.

‘But we cannot thank you enough for the 70 years that she has given us.’

John Aylard, 77, of Kentish Town, London, added: ‘ I have done some amateur dramatics and despite Her Majesty not being able to be here and see for herself the adulation that there is for her, the show must go on.

‘We have been very lucky to have had 70 years of service to this country. Long may that continue.’

Political guests arrived ahead of the royals, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie, former prime minister Sir Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, Sir John Major and other ex-prime ministers Gordon Brown, Theresa May and David Cameron, and their spouses. Cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Liz Truss were also there.

Soon after, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrived with her husband, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force lined up on either side of the Great West Door.

The order of service for today's Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London which begins at 11.30am today

The order of service for today’s Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London which begins at 11.30am today

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's today

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s today

Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral today

Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral today

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's today

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s today

Princess Anne arrives at St Paul's Cathedral in London this morning to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Princess Anne arrives at St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had seats in the second row of the congregation, with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their husbands, and Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret, and her family.

Harry and Meghan were seated behind the Earl and Countess of Wessex who are in the front row with their children, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Across the aisle, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who have ornate chairs, had seats alongside them for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Tim Laurence.

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