LONDON (Reuters) – The famous “Changing the Guard” ceremony at Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace in London returned on Monday after an 18-month absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The colourful ceremony sees The Queen’s Guard handing over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace to the New Guard, usually involving soldiers in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats parading with an army band through central London.
Members of 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards carried out the first guard change since March 2020 when the tradition, which usually attracts large numbers of tourists, was stopped to prevent crowds gathering as part of measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Among the songs blasted out by the army band to entertain those watching was the song “Gold” by Spandau Ballet, one of a number of tunes played in tribute to Britain’s successful Olympic competitors.
The queen, however, was not at the palace to see it as she is on her traditional summer vacation at her Scottish home, Balmoral.
Monday’s return comes after a similar ceremony staged at Windsor Castle, the queen’s home to the west of London also restarted last month.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by William Schomberg and Raissa Kasolowsky)