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Guard duties
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Guard dutiesThe Tower of London
The 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.

Every evening at 10 p.m., one of the oldest military ceremonies in the world, the traditional 'Ceremony of the Keys' takes place. At 9.50 p.m. an Escort - comprising the Sergeant of the Guard, a Guardsman whose duty it is to carry the lantern, and two armed Guardsmen - parade under the Bloody Tower Archway. The Chief Yeoman Warder, in scarlet coat and Tudor bonnet, carrying in one hand a candle lantern and in the other The Queen's Keys, joins the group and hands his lantern to the Guardsman. The party moves to the Middle Tower, where it halts while the Chief Yeoman Warder locks the gate.

This procedure is repeated at the Byward Tower. Along the route, all guards and sentries salute The Queen's Keys.

As the Escort to the Keys returns along Water Lane, the sentry at the Bloody Tower issues the challenge : 'Halt, who comes there?' The Chief Yeoman Warder replies: 'The Keys'. The sentry asks: 'Whose Keys?' whereupon the Chief Yeoman Warder declares: 'Queen Elizabeth's Keys'. The sentry then says: 'Pass, Queen Elizabeth's Keys, and all's well'.

Both the Main Guard and the Escort present arms as the Chief Yeoman Warder, raising his Tudor bonnet, proclaims: 'God preserve Queen Elizabeth', to which all reply: 'Amen'. The Drummer sounds the Last Post on the bugle and the ceremony comes to a close as the clock chimes ten. The Chief Yeoman Warder then carries the Keys to the Resident Governor at The Queen's House and The Guard is dismissed.

Windsor Castle
The Battalion of Foot Guards stationed at Windsor normally provides the daily Guard at Windsor Castle. The Guard Mounting ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. and is held in the Quadrangle if the Court is in residence or in Engine Court should there be a likelihood of damage to the grass in the Quadrangle. During the summer months when the Court is not in residence, Guard Mounting takes place on the lawn on Castle Hill, and in winter on the parade ground outside the Guard Room near Henry VIII's Gateway. When The Queen is in residence the Guard comprises one Officer, five NCOs, one Drummer, and 21 Guardsmen; on other occasions it comprises one Officer, five NCOs, one Drummer and 15 Guardsmen. Here, too, the ceremony is a smaller version of that held at Buckingham Palace. Sentries are posted at various points, including the Advanced Gate, facing Queen Victoria's statue; at St George's Gate, south of the Round Tower; at the George IV Gate, looking down the Long Walk; in the Quadrangle; at the Brunswick Tower at the eastern end of the North Terrace; and outside the guardroom. The double sentries at the Advanced, St George's and George IV Gates are reduced to single sentries when Her Majesty is not in residence.

Changing the Queen's Life Guard at Whitehall
The New Guard rides down The Mall on its way to the Guard Mounting at Whitehall. This Guard mounts daily in the Front Yard or on Horse Guards at Whitehall and is provided alternately by The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals. The whole force, quartered at Hyde Park Barracks, is known as the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

The Old and New Guards are drawn up facing each other, having saluted the respective Standards. Sentries from the New Guard rein back and head towards the guardroom. As they pass both Standards they give an 'eyes-left'.

The two mounted sentries, whose boxes face Whitehall, are posted by the Corporal-of-Horse. He also posts the dismounted sentries and marches the sentries of the Old Guard to the guardroom.

Having re-formed, the Old Guard receives and gives salutes to the New Guard, now The Queen's Life Guard, before moving off back to barracks. The Queen's Life Guard dismounts and files into the guardroom.

Guard duties

The Chief Warder ceremonially locks the Tower of London escorted by the Guard at the Ceremony of the Keys.

Guard duties

A Coldstream Guardsman on sentry duty at Windsor Castle.

Guard duties

A mounted sentry of The Blues and Royals at Whitehall.

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