Introduction

The Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom. It is a colourful and impressive ceremony that occurs thrice a week throughout the year.

The Changing of the Guard is a formal ceremony in which the sentries performing ceremonial guard duties at important institutions are relieved by a new batch of sentries. The ceremonies are often elaborate and meticulously orchestrated.

In the case of the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle, the ceremony involves the handover of duties between the old guard and the new guard. The old guard has been on duty for 24 hours, while the new guard is fresh and ready to take over.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony is performed by soldiers from the Household Division, the oldest and most prestigious division of the British Army. The Household Division protects the royal family and guards the royal palaces.

Where does the Changing of the Guard take place?

The Changing of the Guard ceremony occurs outside the Guardroom in the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle. The Lower Ward is open to the public and is free to watch the ceremony.

Who participates in the Changing of the Guard?

Band of the Scots Guards – Changing the Guard in Windsor

The following personnel participate in the Changing of the Guard ceremony:

  1. The old guard: The old guard is the group of soldiers who have been on duty for the previous 24 hours.
  2. The new guard: The new guard is the group of soldiers who are taking over duty from the old guard.
  3. The band: The band provides music for the ceremony.
  4. The officer of the day: The officer is responsible for overseeing the ceremony.

Significance of the Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a significant event for several reasons. First, it symbolises the continuity of the British monarchy and the British Army. Second, it is a reminder of the importance of duty and service. Third, it is a colourful and impressive spectacle that attracts visitors from all over the world.

State Apartments at Windsor Castle: An Ultimate Guide

The Changing of the Guard ceremony is also a reminder of the rich history of Windsor Castle. The castle has been the royal residence of British monarchs for centuries and has played a significant role in British history. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a way to honour the history of the castle and the people who have served there.

The two guards then perform a series of drills and manoeuvres. This is followed by the handover of duties, a symbolic gesture representing the transfer of responsibility for protecting the castle and the royal family.

Once the handover of duties is complete, the old guard marches back to their barracks while the new guard takes up their position outside the Guardroom.

History of the Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard

How did the Changing of the Guard originate?

The origins of the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle have yet to be discovered. Still, it is thought to date back to the 17th century. At that time, there was a strong emphasis on security at the royal palaces, and the Changing of the Guard ceremony was seen as a way to ensure that the castle was always well-guarded.

One of the earliest references to the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle is a document from 1660. The document describes a ceremony in which the old guard was relieved by the new guard, and the new guard then marched through the castle grounds to the sound of music.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony became more formalised in the 18th century. During this time, the ceremony was expanded to include several drills and manoeuvres. The ceremony also became more elaborate, with the guards wearing traditional red uniforms and bearskin hats.

In the 19th century, the Changing of the Guard ceremony became even more popular with tourists. This was partly because Queen Victoria often held court at Windsor Castle. As a result, many people travelled to the castle to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony and to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

How has the Changing of the Guard changed over time?

Changing the Guard in Windsor (9/9/2023)

The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle has changed in many ways. Here are some of the most notable changes:

Size and Scale

The Changing of the Guard ceremony has grown in size and scale over time. In the early days of the ceremony, only a few guards participated. Today, the ceremony involves over 100 guards and musicians.

Complexity

The Changing of the Guard ceremony has become more complex. In the early days of the ceremony, the guards performed a simple drill. Today, the ceremony includes a variety of drills and manoeuvres, as well as a musical performance by the regimental band.

Uniform

The guards’ uniforms have also changed over time. In the early days of the ceremony, the guards wore various uniforms. Today, the guards all wear the same red uniform and bearskin hat.

Public Participation

The Changing of the Guard ceremony has become more open to public participation. Only a few people were allowed to watch the ceremony in the early days of the ceremony. Today, the ceremony is open to the public and attracts thousands of yearly visitors.

Drills and Manoeuvres

In the 18th century, the Changing of the Guard ceremony was expanded to include several drills and manoeuvres, such as the “Guard Mounting” ceremony. The Guard Mounting ceremony is a complex drill involving the guards marching and changing positions precisely.

Popularity with Tourists

In the 19th century, the Changing of the Guard ceremony became even more popular with tourists. This was partly because Queen Victoria often held court at Windsor Castle. As a result, many people travelled to the castle to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony and to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

Suspension during World Wars

In the 20th century, the Changing of the Guard ceremony was suspended during World War I and II. However, the ceremony was resumed after each war.

Modernisation

Changing of the Guard ceremony has been modernised in recent years to reflect the changing social and cultural landscape. For example 2015, the first female guards began participating in the ceremony.

Despite the changes that have taken place over time, the Changing of the Guard ceremony remains a popular and important tradition. It symbolises the continuity of the British monarchy and the British Army. It is also a reminder of the importance of duty and service.

Interesting Facts About the Changing of the Guard

  • The Changing of the Guard ceremony has been held at Windsor Castle for over 300 years.
  • The bearskin hats worn by the guards are made from the fur of black bears specifically bred for the purpose.
  • The guards are trained to march in perfect time, even on uneven surfaces.
  • The Changing of the Guard ceremony is the longest-running military ceremony in the world.
  • The guards can only speak to the public during the ceremony if spoken to first.
  • The Changing of the Guard ceremony rehearses the guards’ duties, including protecting the Queen and the royal family.
  • The Changing of the Guard ceremony is often used as a filming location for movies and TV shows.
  • The guards must always carry a ceremonial rifle with them, even when they are not on duty.
  • The guards are trained to handle various emergencies, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
  • The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a popular tourist attraction and a working military ceremony. The guards are on high alert and are ready to respond to any threat.

How to watch the Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard ceremony occurs every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 11:00 am in the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle. The ceremony lasts for approximately 30 minutes.

To watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony, you can arrive at the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle at 11:00 am on the day of the ceremony. There is no charge to watch the ceremony.

Where is the best place to watch the Changing of the Guard?

The best place to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony is from the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle. The Lower Ward is open to the public, and watching the ceremony is free.

If you cannot watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony from the Lower Ward, you can also watch it from the Long Walk. The Long Walk is a long, straight path that leads up to Windsor Castle from the town of Windsor.

What time should I arrive to watch the Changing of the Guard?

It is recommended to arrive at the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle at least 30 minutes before the Changing of the Guard ceremony starts. This will give you time to find a good spot to watch the ceremony and avoid the crowds.

What are some tips for watching the Changing of the Guard?

Here are some tips for watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. You will be doing much standing and walking.
  2. Bring a camera. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a great photo opportunity.
  3. Be respectful. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a military ceremony, and it is important to respect the guards and the ceremony itself.
  4. If you are watching the ceremony from the Lower Ward, try to stand near the Guardroom. This will give you a good view of the ceremony.
  5. If you are watching the ceremony from the Long Walk, try to stand near the top of the hill. This will give you a good view of the guards marching into the castle.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a popular tourist attraction and can be crowded. Be careful not to get lost or separated from your group.
  7. Have fun! The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a unique and special experience. Enjoy the show!

What are the different types of guards that participate in the Changing of the Guard?

The following regiments of the Household Division participate in the Changing of the Guard ceremony:

  • Grenadier Guards
  • Coldstream Guards
  • Scots Guards
  • Irish Guards
  • Welsh Guards

The following regiments of the Household Cavalry participate in the Changing of the Guard ceremony:

  • Life Guards
  • Blues and Royals

What is the music played during the Changing of the Guard ceremony?

The music played during the Changing of the Guard ceremony is provided by the regimental band of the new guard. The regimental band plays various music, including marches, hymns, and popular tunes.

Some of the most popular pieces of music played during the Changing of the Guard ceremony include:

  • “God Save the Queen”
  • “Auld Lang Syne”
  • “Rule Britannia”
  • “The British Grenadiers”
  • “Colonel Bogey March”
  • “La Marseillaise”
  • “Yankee Doodle Dandy”

Tips for enjoying the Changing of the Guard

What should I wear to the Changing of the Guard?

The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place outdoors, so it is important to dress appropriately for the weather. It is also important to dress respectfully, as the ceremony is military.

Here are some tips for what to wear to the Changing of the Guard ceremony:

  1. Dress in layers so that you can adjust to the changing weather conditions.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be doing much standing and walking.
  3. Avoid wearing revealing or offensive clothing.
  4. If you are visiting in the summer, wear sunscreen and a hat.
  5. Wear a warm coat and gloves if you are visiting in the winter.

What should I bring to the Changing of the Guard?

It is recommended to bring the following items to the Changing of the Guard ceremony:

  1. A camera: The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a great photo opportunity.
  2. A bottle of water: It is important to stay hydrated, especially when visiting in the summer.
  3. A comfortable seat: If you plan to sit down to watch the ceremony, it is recommended to bring a comfortable seat.
  4. A raincoat: The weather in the United Kingdom can be unpredictable, so bringing a raincoat is always good.

Are there any restrictions on what I can do during the Changing of the Guard ceremony?

Yes, there are some restrictions on what you can do during the Changing of the Guard ceremony. These restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of the guards and the public.

Here is a list of restrictions:

  1. Do not touch the guards or their uniforms.
  2. Do not take photos or videos of the guards without their permission.
  3. Do not stand in the way of the guards or interfere with the ceremony.
  4. Do not make loud noises or disturbances.
  5. Be respectful of the guards and the ceremony itself.

Tips for Taking Photos of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony

The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a great photo opportunity. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking photos:

  1. Be respectful of the guards and the ceremony itself. Do not get in the way of the guards or interfere with the ceremony.
  2. Use a zoom lens. This will allow you to get close-up photos of the guards and the ceremony.
  3. Set your camera to shutter priority mode. This will allow you to freeze the action and avoid blurry photos.
  4. Use a low ISO rating. This will help to reduce noise in your photos.
  5. Experiment with different angles and compositions. There are many great places to take photos of the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

Conclusion

The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a unique and special experience. It is a great opportunity to see the British Army at its best and to learn about the history and traditions of the United Kingdom.

We highly recommend watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony if you visit Windsor Castle. It is an unforgettable experience that you will cherish for years to come.

FAQs

Does Windsor Castle have a changing of the guard?

Yes, Windsor Castle has a changing of the guard ceremony. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom.

When does the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle take place?

The changing of the guard at Windsor Castle takes place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 11:00 am.

How often do the guards change at Windsor Castle?

The guards at Windsor Castle change every 24 hours.

What are the dates for changing the guard at Windsor Castle?

Dates for changing the guard at Windsor Castle from November 2023 to December 2024:

+------------------+-----------------------------+-----------+
|    Date          |    Guard Unit                    |  Day      |
+------------------+-----------------------------+-----------+
| November 2, 2023 | Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards | Thursday |
| November 4, 2023 | 19th Regiment Royal Artillery    | Saturday |
| November 8, 2023 | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards       | Wednesday|
| November 9, 2023 | 19th Regiment Royal Artillery    | Thursday |
| November 11, 2023| Number 9 Company, Irish Guards    | Saturday |
| November 12, 2023| 19th Regiment Royal Artillery    | Sunday   |
| November 14, 2023| 1st Battalion Welsh Guards       | Tuesday  |
| November 18, 2023| Number 12 Company, Irish Guards  | Saturday |
| November 20, 2023| 1st Battalion Welsh Guards       | Monday   |
| November 23, 2023| F Company, Scots Guards          | Thursday |
| November 25, 2023| Number 7 Company, Coldstream Guards| Saturday |
| December 5, 2023 | 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| December 9, 2023 | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| December 12, 2023| 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| December 16, 2023| 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| December 19, 2023| 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| December 23, 2023| 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| December 26, 2023| 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| December 30, 2023| 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| January 2, 2024  | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| January 6, 2024  | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| January 9, 2024  | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| January 13, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| January 16, 2024 | 1st Battalion Irish Guards        | Tuesday  |
| January 20, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Irish Guards        | Saturday |
| January 23, 2024 | 1st Battalion Irish Guards        | Tuesday  |
| January 27, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Irish Guards        | Saturday |
| January 30, 2024 | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| February 3, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| February 6, 2024 | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| February 10, 2024| 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| February 13, 2024| 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| February 17, 2024| Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards | Saturday |
| February 20, 2024| 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| February 24, 2024| 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| February 27, 2024| 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| March 2, 2024   | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| March 5, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| March 9, 2024   | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| March 12, 2024  | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| March 16, 2024  | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| March 19, 2024  | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| March 23, 2024  | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| March 26, 2024  | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| March 30, 2024  | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| April 2, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| April 6, 2024   | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| April 9, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| April 13, 2024  | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| April 16, 2024  | Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards | Tuesday  |
| April 20, 2024  | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| April 23, 2024  | 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| April 27, 2024  | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| May 4, 2024     | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| May 7, 2024     | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| May 11, 2024    | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| May 14, 2024    | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| May 18, 2024    | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| May 21, 2024    | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| May 25, 2024    | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| May 28, 2024    | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| June 1, 2024    | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| June 4, 2024    | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| June 8, 2024    | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| June 11, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| June 15, 2024   | Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards | Saturday |
| June 18, 2024   | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| June 22, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| June 25, 2024   | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| June 29, 2024   | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| July 2, 2024    | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| July 6, 2024    | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| July 9, 2024    | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| July 13, 2024   | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| July 16, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| July 20, 2024   | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| July 23, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| July 27, 2024   | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| July 30, 2024   | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| August 3, 2024  | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| August 6, 2024  | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| August 10, 2024 | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| August 13, 2024 | Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards | Tuesday  |
| August 17, 2024 | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| August 20, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| August 24, 2024 | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| August 27, 2024 | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| August 31, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| September 3, 2024| 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| September 7, 2024| 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| September 10, 2024| 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| September 14, 2024| 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| September 17, 2024| 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| September 21, 2024| 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| September 24, 2024| 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| September 28, 2024| Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards | Saturday |
| October 1, 2024  | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| October 5, 2024  | 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| October 8, 2024  | 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| October 12, 2024 | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| October 15, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| October 19, 2024 | 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| October 22, 2024 | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| October 26, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| October 29, 2024 | 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| November 2, 2024 | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| November 5, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
| November 9, 2024 | 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| November 12, 2024| Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards | Tuesday  |
| November 16, 2024| 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| November 19, 2024| 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Tuesday  |
| November 23, 2024| 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards    | Saturday |
| November 26, 2024| 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| December 7, 2024 | 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| December 10, 2024| 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Tuesday  |
| December 14, 2024| 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards   | Saturday |
| December 17, 2024| 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| December 21, 2024| 2nd Battalion Scots Guards        | Saturday |
| December 24, 2024| 1st Battalion Scots Guards        | Tuesday  |
| December 28, 2024| 1st Battalion Welsh Guards        | Saturday |
| December 31, 2024| 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards        | Tuesday  |
+------------------+-----------------------------+-----------+
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What is the Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard Route?

The changing of the guard at Windsor Castle begins at Victoria Barracks, located on Sheet Street. The new guard marches through the town centre and along the Long Walk before arriving at the Guardroom in the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle.

How to get Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard Tickets?

There is no charge to watch the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle. However, you may need to purchase a ticket to enter the castle grounds if you want to watch the ceremony from the Lower Ward.

What is Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard Map?

Here is a map of the changing of the guard route at Windsor Castle:

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