Ivory chess piece in the shape of a seated king

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Dancers Practising at the Barre

London bridge (part eight)

Great Ming Circulating Treasure Note


Cyrus cylinder

Jack the Ripper walk (part ten)


Tower Gateway


Ceremonial bronze dirk

Wax death mask of Oliver Cromwell

Dhratarastra, Guardian King of the East

Blackfriars Bridge (part five)

Mummy portrait of Artemidorus

News from our friends
Into the future
Elizabeth II HAS REIGNED in a world moving swiftly through political shifts, cultural change and technological advances. Traditional institutions of law, religion and politics have suffered loss of ...
Elizabeth II (1952 - )
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 17 Bruton Street, London on 21 April 1926. A happy childhood was spent with her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, and younger sister Margaret Rose. ...
Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)
Edward VIII (1936) Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, was known to the family as 'David'. Charming and informal, he was a popular prince, touring Britain and the empire, ...
George V (1910 - 1936)
Edward vii's eldest son Albert died at the age of 28, and so it was his second son, George, who followed him as king. George had learned the navy's traditions of duty and. Blue-eyed, blunt, and ...
House of Windsor
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she left three generations of heirs. They, it was expected, would reign as monarchs of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In fact, the name survived only 16 years. In ...
Most Popular
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Isabella BrantThis famous portrait drawing is of Rubens’ first wife, ...
The queen of vintage - Hilary ProctorThere's only one thing more fabulous than Hilary Pr...
Waterloo suicidesFor centuries people have been committing or attempting...
The Blues and RoyalsIn 1969 The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) were amalgam...
London Oratory (Brompton Road)The Congregation of the Oratory was founded in Rome by ...
Clocks and watches - Martyn Stamp"1970s watches are very popular right now, whereas...
London bridge (part twelve)After the opening in 1836 of London Bridge station, the...
Guy's Hospital ChapelThe benefaction by which Thomas Guy founded the well-kn...
The musiciansToday the seven Regiments of the Household Division all have bands of highly accomplished musicians, each directed by a commissioned Officer. The bands of the five Regiments of Foot Guards each contain some 46 musicians, while those of the Household Cavalry Regiment are about 34 strong. In addition, each battalion of Foot Guards has its own Corps of Drums compris-ing six to eight drummers and percussionists and about a dozen pipers, while the Scots and Irish Guards also have some 25 pipers. These Corps of Drums and the pipers have always been on a different footing from other regimental bandsmen. They were originally employed to convey their commander's orders by means of their instruments, besides playing routine calls or tunes, and raising the spirits of their men as they went into action. They are thus on the establishment of their battalions, rather than being part of the regimental band.
Active ServiceMen from the Regiments of the Household Division have taken part in nearly every war or internal security operation in which the British Army has been involved during the past 330 years. Their fighting qualities, tenacity and courage have been an example for all to see. Their system of training, with its discipline and high standards, has remained at the heart of their great tradition.

In modern times members of the Household Division have displayed their fighting skill in jungle, desert and mountain, in freezing cold and steaming heat. They have proved adaptable and flexible as shown by their conversion to armour in the Second World War and the formation of the famous Guards Armoured Division and 6th Guards Tank Brigade.
Guard dutiesThe Regiment finding The Queen's Guard for the day at Buckingham Palace also provides the Guard for the Tower of London. There is no ceremonial Guard Mounting parade in the Tower.

During the day, two ceremonial sentries are mounted, one outside The Queen's House, the other immediately outside the guardroom. These sentries are changed every hour in winter and every two hours in summer.
The Sovereign's Birthday ParadeThe Birthday Parade usually includes six Guards of the Foot Guards, each comprising 3 Officers and 70 other ranks. Nos. 1 to 5 Guards form up on the west side of Horse Guards Parade facing Horse Guards Archway, while No. 6 Guard forms up at right angles to the other five. The Massed Bands, Pipes and Drums of the Household Division form up in front of the garden of No. 10 Downing Street. The Queen's Colour is then posted in front of No. 6 Guard. The parade is dressed and, when the line is formed, the officers fall in.

At 11 a.m. The Queen arrives from Buckingham Palace, attended by the Royal Procession and escorted by the Sovereign's Escort of the Household Cavalry. As Her Majesty arrives at the Saluting Base, she is received with a Royal Salute, the Bands playing the National anthem.
Trooping the ColourEvery year, in June, on the day chosen as the Sovereign's Official Birthday, Horse Guards Parade witnesses a ceremony which has been described as the greatest parade of all. This is the Sovereign's Birthday Parade, or the ceremony of Trooping the Colour in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, the Colonel-in-Chief of all seven Regiments of the Household Division. However, few of the many millions of people who watch the ceremony annually fully appreciate the original purpose of a basically simple exercise, which has since become overlaid with the splendour of a major State occasion. In the early days of land warfare, flags or Colours were used by military leaders as rallying or assembly points for their followers in battle. As the organization of military forces became more complex, sub-units of the main force, such as the company, began to have their own distinguishing device, although, from about the beginning of the 18th century, battalion Colours mostly replaced company Colours.
Changing the Guard at Buckingham PalaceAt 11 a.m., the St James's Palace detachment of the Old Guard forms up in Friary Court at St James's Palace. After inspection by the Captain of The Queen's Guard, the Drummers beat the call 'The Point of War' as the Colour is brought on.

Then, led by their Corps of Drums, the St James's detachment marches off via Stable Yard Gate and proceeds along The Mall to Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile the Buckingham Palace detachment of the Old Guard falls in and is inspected. The detachment then marches to the centre of the Palace Forecourt to await the arrival of the remainder of the Old Guard.
Changing the GuardFrom the reign of Henry VII until the Civil War, the responsibility of guarding the person of the Sovereign rested with the Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard. During the Civil War, Charles I was guarded by loyal troops, while Charles II, when in exile, was protected by his Life Guards. From the Restoration onwards, the daily protection of the Sovereign became increasingly the duty of The Life Guards and the three original Regiments of Foot Guards, and it still remains the responsibility of the Household Division. Today, The Queen has a number of homes, both official and private. However, it is only at the London palaces and at Windsor and Edinburgh Castles that a guard is mounted.
The Welsh GuardsThe Welsh Regiment of Foot Guards was formed on 26 February 1915 by order of His Majesty King George V. The number of Welshmen transferring from other Regiments made it possible for the 1st Battalion to mount Guard at Buckingham Palace three days later on St David's Day.

Following six months of intensive training, the 1st Battalion fought their first battle at Loos on 27 September 1915, and fought in France and Flanders for the rest of the First World War as part of the Guards Division.
The Irish Guards
We're not so old in the Army List
But we're not so young at our trade
For we had the honour at Fontenoy
Of meeting the Guard's Brigade.

From a poem, 'The Irish Guards', by Rudyard Kipling,
whose son was killed in the Irish Guards in 1915.
The Scots GuardsThe Scots Guards have loyally and successfully served the Crown for many years, since the Regiment was first raised as a personal bodyguard for Charles I in 1642. In March of that year Charles issued a Commission addressed to Archibald, 1st Marquess of Argyll, authorizing him to raise 'a Royal Regiment of our Scottish Subjects, consisting of the number of Fifteen Hundred men'.

The Regiment was sent to Ireland, but neither the King nor Argyll went with them. Instead the marquess appointed a cousin as commander in the field, and this custom of having a prince of the Blood or a distinguished soldier as Colonel, and a Lieutenant Colonel Commanding responsible for the active command of the whole Regiment, has remained.