Watch: If you’ve been to London, chances are you’ve seen the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. But history was made on Monday, when Canadian soldiers had a turn standing guard. Stuart Greer explains.
LONDON – A contingent from Canada’s fabled Royal 22nd Regiment is standing on guard for the Queen today.
About 70 members of the unit’s ceremonial guard are in London to protect Buckingham Palace.
It’s the first time the francophone regiment has stood guard at Buckingham Palace since 1940, when it was done at the request of King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth.
That also marked the first time the King’s Guard Sentinels got commands not only from a non-British unit but also in French.
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The changing of the guard ceremony, which is a must-see for tourists besides being a famous military ritual, consists of the old guard handing over responsibility for Buckingham Palace’s safety to the new guard.
The responsibility is given to active infantry regiments who have shown discipline and precision in their movements.
Watch: Scenes from the Van Doos’ changing of the guard ceremony in London
The Canadian High Commission in London tweeted photos and video of the ceremony where the soldiers in red tunics and high fur busby hats marched smartly to complete the handover.
They will assume the duties until July 19.
The trip to London is part of commemorative activities by the regiment to highlight its history and that of the military in Canada.
The regiment’s delegation will also visit First World War battlefields at Ypres and Passchendale in Belgium as well as Vimy Ridge in France.
The Royal 22nd Regiment, one of three regular force infantry regiments in the Canadian Armed Forces, has been involved in all the armed conflicts and many of the peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in which Canada played a role.
“Members of the Royal 22nd Regiment do Canadians proud, whenever and wherever they are called upon to serve,” said Lt-Gen. Marquis Hainse, commander of the Canadian Army, in a statement.
Alain Forand, a retired major-general who served with the Van Doos, described the ceremony as “a historic moment” for the regiment.
Watch: More from the Changing of the Guard