Changing the Guard ceremony returns to Buckingham Palace with Olympic theme

The traditional event was held on Monday for the first time in 2021

The traditional Changing the Guard ceremony has been performed at Buckingham Palace for the first time since coronavirus restrictions were introduced in 2020.

The military spectacle is popular with tourists and is one of the most famous traditions at Queen Elizabeth II's London residence.

It was suspended about 18 months ago to prevent large crowds from forming during lockdown.

The ceremony returned on Monday when the new guard, the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards marched from nearby Wellington Barracks to the palace to take over the duty from the old guard, Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards.

The guards were dressed in the famous scarlet tunics and bearskin hats.

Garrison Sgt Maj Major Andrew Stokes of the Coldstream Guards, who was in charge of the ceremony’s return, said the event had been "a long time coming".

“Bearing in mind it’s been 18 months since we last did a ceremonial Changing the Guard [at Buckingham Palace], there’s been an awful lot of hard work and preparation getting people up to standard," he said.

Some of those taking part in the parade were carrying out the duty for the first time.

The tunes played by the Band of the Coldstream Guards honoured Britain’s Olympic achievements.

The songs included Spandau Ballet’s Gold, the Olympic theme song and Whitney Houston’s One Moment In Time.

The medleys were chosen in “tribute to the success of our Olympians, which we’re incredibly proud of”, Sgt Maj Stokes said.

“The guardsmen enjoy it because lots of members of the public and tourists come and watch – sometimes up to 20,000 in the middle of summer," he said.

“The musicians enjoy it because they get to practise their skill in front of a willing audience, and it instils an awful lot of pride knowing that all these people have come to watch these very young guardsmen and musicians.”

The queen did not see the proceedings because she is on her annual break to Balmoral, Scotland, but dozens of tourists gathered to watch.

Updated: August 23rd 2021, 2:59 PM