Millions of tourists descend upon London city each year, with many making a pitstop to visit the infamous King’s Guards.
The King’s Guards is the name given to the contingent of infantry responsible for guarding Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace, including Clarence House in London.
Although they’re an attraction for many sightseers, the troops themselves mustn’t break protocol – so what exactly can they do when the public get in their way? Well, other than this:
According to palace rules, there’s one phrase they definitely do have permission to use if someone stops them in their tracks.
We know this thanks to a Reddit AMA in which one of the troops – who is now known as the King’s Guard following Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September – opened up about the job.
They explained that they’re ‘allowed to get [people] away by shouting warnings if they fail to move away or start to act aggressively’.
And the most commonly used phrase is: “Make way for the King’s Guard.”
This bit of British trivia was described in a guidebook to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
As a fair warning to tourists, it states: “Please don’t stand in the way of the Guards as they will not stop or march around people who are impeding their progress.
“The usual warning they shout out if someone is in the way is, ‘Make way for The King’s Guard’.”
And trust us, you don’t want to get in the way of these guys – they’ll trample all over you, quite literally.
For more fun facts about the men in the funny hats, did you know that their job entails a lot more than just guarding the royal residences?
Though they’re best known for their bearskins (those tall fur hats), red tunics, and for standing completely still – except when they’ve had enough of the general public – they do crack on with other tasks too.
According to Changing the Guard, guardsmen will typically have two hours on sentry duty and four hours off, giving enough time for their bodies and minds to recover.
It might not sound like much, but keeping your body completely still for a long period of time can cause exhaustion, muscle strain, lower back pain and swelling of the feet – hence why you often see them faint during longer events or in hot weather.
As well as sentry duty, they are also responsible for patrolling the grounds of the palaces at night.
And perhaps most surprising at all is that these guards also perform duties around the world as professional soldiers, who have a reputation as some of the most skilled troops in the British army.
So there’s a lot more to the position than just standing still and looking moody.