The Queen’s Guards – you know, the guys who wear those big fuzzy, black hats and stand outside Buckingham Palace – have an incredible amount of discipline.
Each year, the soldiers with their red and black uniforms and bearskin hats attract thousands of visitors to London. And incredibly, despite the pesky tourists who seem intent on infuriating them, they usually remain poised and aloof.
Their first priority is to protect the Queen, but they also provide their services to other official royal residences all over Britain. And while it may seem that they don’t have all that much to do all day, they are some of the most well-respected and well-trained soldiers in the British army.
Armed with a loaded assault rifle, they’re not the kind of people you should be messing around with.
You should also know if you’re planning to visit that, contrary to what popular movies might have you believe about the Queen’s Guard, they are actually allowed to physically move you out of their way.
One female tourist learned this the hard way when she was practically shoved to the ground by a marching member of the Queen’s Guard:
So what happened? Well, the Guard in question deliberately pushed her because she was standing in his way during a drill outside Windsor Castle. The incident, which was caught on camera, shows the woman almost being shoved to the ground as the Guard approaches her from behind.
The woman, dressed in yellow, was posing for a picture and can be seen in the video standing directly in the soldier’s path before being swiftly pushed to the side. The guard then continues with the drill as onlookers watch from behind a rope.
According to an army spokesman, the tourist was told four times to refrain from interrupting the soldier while he performed his duties after she touched his arm, rifle and bearskin hat.
After being pushed by the Guard, the woman falls forward, then screams in utter shock.
“This woman had touched the soldier’s arm, she had touched his rifle and touched his bearskin hat,” an army spokesman said. “The Guard came out and put a rope across. The Windsor Castle staff also came out and asked her to be more respectful.”
“This was a setup and she was warned four times. The serious issue here is security. What are we supposed to do when people start doing these things? What if it was a terrorist?”
The thing is, the Queen’s Guards are some of the most trusted soldiers in Britain and as such, they are given a great deal of autonomy when it comes to how they react to the general public. While they might be expected to simply ignore trivial annoyances, if you were to deliberately provoke them, they are allowed to take more drastic measures.
In fact, while the aforementioned female tourist may have been shocked to have been forcefully shoved by the Guard, at least she never had a rifle pointed in her face.
It’s true – if someone persistently invades a Guard’s space, they might just point a rifle at the offender to serve as a final warning:
Before a Guard can legitimately point a rifle in someone’s face, they are expected to give a clear warning by stamping their feet together and assuming the ready position.
But it must not be forgotten that these men are responsible for guarding the Queen and protecting her safety, and if they believe the most suitable way to diffuse a situation is to point a gun at someone, they will do it.
The Queen’s Guards receive special training in how best to deal with tourists and the most suitable ways in which respond to those who invade their personal space. While usually the Guard’s are poised and silent, occasionally they veer away from their rigid code of conduct in order to tell tourists to give them space.
But because tourists seem intent on harassing the Guards, they are usually not stationed in areas where they would typically be confronted with them. More often than not, they will stand guard in roped off areas that the members of the public aren’t allowed to enter.
However, because people like taking advantage of the fact that the Guards are typically expected to remain as poised as possible, it can reach a point where these soldiers have to yell or threaten people who cross into these areas.
And when someone crosses a Guard, they won’t spare anyone – and that includes tourists who potentially don’t understand or speak much English or even young children.
Take a look at this video taken of a Guard screaming at a kid for touching the fence:
When the Guards are marching, they’re also allowed to forcefully shove members of the public out of the way, even if the person wasn’t intentionally trying to be a nuisance.
And, in fact, none of the soldiers are under any obligation to help if the person gets injured in the process. The only thing they are required to do is warn people to “Make way!”
While this may seem like a pretty outdated and callous rule, the reason for it is that it was historically considered treasonous to hold up anyone who was responsible for serving the Monarch.
So the idea is if you were in the way of, say, 40 marching Guards, it’s entirely your own fault if they hurt you while pushing you out the way.
The tourist in this video got in the way of a whole bunch of marching Guards and this is how they responded:
Yeah, so the Queen Guards aren’t as willing to put up with the public’s bullsh*t as you may have previously thought. Take note, if you ever plan on taking a trip to London and are feeling ‘daring’ enough to p*ss them off…