Sailors take up guard duty at Buckingham Palace in first change of tradition since 1660

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-26 22:05:29|Editor: Zhou Xin
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LONDON, Nov, 26 (Xinhua) -- The traditional changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace saw the biggest change Sunday in its more than 350-year history.

Instead of British Army guardsman performing the ceremony, for the first time, Royal Navy sailors are guarding the London residence of Queen Elizabeth.

The colourful changing of the guard ceremony is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London.

For their debut, watched by crowds at the palace gates, the band played the theme tune from the Game of Thrones as they took up their duties.

Almost 90 sailors usually based on warships or naval bases spent a month training for guard duty in London.

Royal Navy Warrant Officer Eddie Wearing described the navy's role as a "massive privilege". The change this year has been introduced as part of celebrations to mark 2017 as the Year of the Navy.

For 357 years the task of guarding the Royal household has been carried out by five Foot Guards Regiments from the Army's Household Division.

The ceremony was introduced in 1660 during the reign of King Henry II when soldiers were first used to guard the monarch's home. The ceremony involves one set of military personnel handing over the duty to a new group guards, hence the term changing of the guard.

As well as guardian Buckinham Palace, the sailors will be on guard for Royal Duties at St James's Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.

At Buckingham Palace, the ceremony takes place each day at 11 a.m. in summer months and every other day in winter.

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock described watching the event was a "highly emotional moment", expressing his pride for the Royal Navy.