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Photo shows Yeoman Warders taking a break from 20 minute shifts while watching at Westminster Hall

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Beefeaters guarding the Queen’s casket have a well-deserved rest: Photo shows Yeoman Warders taking a break from 20-minute shifts watching at Westminster Hall

  • Photo shows the guards taking a break behind the scenes of Westminster Hall
  • The guards usually work 37 hours a week, often on weekends and at night
  • A security guard fell on Wednesday after passing out from exhaustion
  • Yeoman Warders have been guarding the Tower of London since the time of Tudor
  • The Queen’s Funeral: All the latest news and coverage about the royal family

The royal guards standing by Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin are pictured taking a well-deserved rest.

The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, nicknamed the ‘beefeaters’, guard the late monarch.

A photo shows the loyal guards taking a break behind the scenes of Westminster Hall on Sundays, rotating every 20 minutes over a six-hour shift.

The Queen lies in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall for Monday’s funeral.

The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, nicknamed the ‘beefeaters’, are pictured taking a break between their 20-minute services behind the scenes of Westminster Hall ahead of Monday’s funeral

The Queen: Everything you need to know after her death and a look back at her 70-year reign

Three ceremonial units surround Her Majesty as she lies in state, with units watching over her 24 hours a day.

The Yeomen of the Guard, depicted at rest, stand over her, as do the Gentlemen at Arms and the Royal Company of Archers.

“They do such a great job. Hats off to them,” said one Twitter user.

“I thank them all for their service,” said another.

Yeoman Warders have guarded the Tower of London since the days of Tudor, with members of their ranks drawn from all three branches of the military.

The group was originally part of Henry VIII’s personal bodyguard and traveled with the monarch for his protection.

The Yeoman Body of 37 men and women are all from the armed forces.

Salaries for the posts start at £30,000 a year, and the job even comes with a flat – with many guards expected to live in the Tower with their families.

But the guard must first have served in the military for 22 years, and the candidates are expected to also have the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

The guards usually work 37 hours a week, often on weekends, but also overtime and some night shifts.

Annual leave is 23 days per year, increasing to 25.5 days after three years of service and 26.5 days after ten years of service.

A guard, a member of the Royal Company of Archers, has been recorded falling to the ground after passing out from exhaustion while standing over the Queen’s coffin on Wednesday.

The man had briefly stepped off the stage moments earlier before taking his place again as other soldiers joined him for a switchover.

But seconds later, he blacked out and fell forward, landing sprawled on the stone floor to the loud sobbing of bystanders queuing to pay their respects.

The live stream also went out for a few minutes when the police came to the aid of the man.

He reportedly recovered soon after, as thousands of mourners lined up to pay their last respects to the monarch after her death in Balmoral last Thursday.

The moment the guard fell headfirst on the stone floor while police officers quickly come to his rescue tonight

The moment the guard fell headfirst on the stone floor while police officers quickly come to his rescue tonight

Yeoman Warders, aka Beefeaters watch the gun salute on the occasion of King Charles III's formal declaration as monarch at the Tower of London

Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters watch the gun salute on the occasion of King Charles III’s formal declaration as monarch at the Tower of London

Yeoman Warders, better known as Beefeaters, march across the Middle Drawbridge during a ceremonial event to mark the reopening to the public of the Tower of London on 10 July 2020

Yeoman Warders, better known as Beefeaters, march across the Middle Drawbridge during a ceremonial event to mark the reopening to the public of the Tower of London on 10 July 2020

The Oldest Existing Military Corps and Royal Bodyguards: The Origins of Yeoman Warders

The Yeoman Warders were formed in 1485 by the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, after the Battle of Bosworth.

It is the oldest surviving military corps and the oldest of the royal bodyguards.

Henry VIII decided that the tower should be protected by part of the royal bodyguard after removing its official occupant in 1509.

These ‘Yeoman Warders’ were eventually given the right to wear the beautiful red uniform, known today as the state uniform and worn on state occasions such as the monarch’s birthday.

The more durable everyday dark blue ‘undress’ uniform was introduced in the 19th century.

The state uniform is worn on state occasions such as the monarch's birthday

The state uniform is worn on state occasions such as the monarch’s birthday

Yeoman Warders are a detachment of the ‘Yeomen of the Guard’ and have been the Royal Bodyguard since 1509.

Their origins date back to the reign of Edward IV (1461-1483)

As of 2018, there were 37 Yeoman Warders and Chief Warder and their role is primarily ceremonial: greeting and guiding visitors.

Yeomen Warders take part in the Ceremony of the Keys every night – an ancient ritual when the main gates are locked at night.

It is one of the oldest surviving military ceremonies in the world.

The first female Yeoman Warder in the institution’s history, Moira Cameraon, was hired in 2007.

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