The Five Most Embarrassing Moments Of The British Royal Guard

The queen's guard, which upon Queen Elizabeth II's death became the king's guard (via The British Army), is instantly recognizable by their iconic uniforms. According to Insider, this includes a red tunic and a bearskin hat. Moreover, they are known for their stoic and imposing presence. Changing The Guard writes that the royal guard, which is comprised of trained soldiers, has been providing the monarchy and the royal family with protection since 1660.

Notably, they can be seen by tourists standing guard at London's Buckingham Palace, home to the ruling monarch since 1837. Stars and Stripes reports that while having such an incredible and iconic responsibility, being a part of the British royal guard is an arduous and tedious job. We Are The Mighty adds that while on duty, a guard can do nothing but stand in position with a rifle in hand.

As part of their duty, they also have to accept whatever affliction they are given by tourists. Stars and Stripes explains that the guards have to "patrol in a smart and soldierlike manner; not converse with any civilian except on business and then as briefly as possible and without movement; prevent any kind of nuisance in the vicinity; assist the civil police if called upon; not use more force than is necessary to carry out your duty; not stand easy, sit down, lie down, sleep nor smoke during tour of duty." However, the royal guards are only human, and sometimes, intentionally or not, they break protocol.

One royal guard fell during the changing of the guard

Beyond providing the monarchy and royal residence protection, the king's guard also partake in ceremonial duties (via Changing The Guard). This includes the Changing the Guard, which takes place at Buckingham Palace. According to Visit London, this ceremony is simple; the guards that are currently at the helm are replaced with new ones. The Royal Family notes that the ceremony also includes music played by a military band. Additionally, viewing this ceremony is a popular tourist attraction and any mistake or flub made by the guards will likely be caught on camera.

In April 2015, a viral video showed a queen's guard slipping on a manhole cover (per GQ). The guard took a tumble and dropped his rifle. However, he swiftly got back up without losing his composure. The guards next to him also did not react to this in the slightest. Metro notes that he likely fell due to metal protectors on the sole of his shoes. The man who filmed the incident, David Meadwell, told the Telegraph (via USA Today), "I didn't expect anything like this to happen — he went flying." He added, "There were quite a few people around and there were a lot of gasps as he went down."

A royal guard yelled at a tourist for touching his horse

Although the royal guards are not supposed to react to tourists (via Londontopia), sometimes that is simply not an option. In a video that the Evening Standard reports was originally posted on TikTok in July 2022, a queen's guard is seen yelling at a blonde woman who took a photo with his horse. Although this appears to be a harmless interaction at first, things go awry when the tourist grabs onto the horse's reins in order to get its attention. With this, the guard that is on the horse yells at the top of his lungs, "Stand back from the Queen's lifeguard, don't touch the reins."

The woman, who is clearly startled, quickly gets out of the way. Per Insider, the caption on the original TikTok (which has now been taken down) read "We will never return to London after this incident." As a response to the viral video, a British Army spokesperson told Insider that the guard yelled for safety reasons. They explained, "We have signs placed alongside the horse boxes, stating that the horses bite and would always encourage the public not to get close to horses, as, after all, they are animals and can be unpredictable."

The British royal guard trampled a boy

Per Britannica, the Tower of London is an iconic landmark that was once a prison, palace, and much more. Notably, it's one of the United Kingdom's most popular tourist destinations (via Visit Britain). That said, one visitor got more than he bargained for when he was unfortunately knocked over by the queen's guard. The New York Post writes that a TikTok video that received more than 5.7 million views captured this moment. In the clip, two guards can be seen marching outside the Tower of London while one yells, "Make way!" At this exact moment, the queen's guard accidentally tramples a child.

Onlookers in the video can be heard audibly gasping. However, the child was unfazed by the accident and got up while the queen's guard continued to march away. According to LADbible, The Ministry of Defense later responded to the video and said, "The Guardsmen on duty warned members of the public that a patrol was approaching but the child unfortunately ran out in front of the soldier unexpectedly. The soldier tried to step over the child and continued on his duty.  Following the incident, the soldier checked on the child and was reassured that all was well."

Despite this, Forbes reports that this viral video left viewers divided. Some agreed that the guard was doing his job. Others frowned upon their actions, especially because a young child was involved.

The royal guard mistook a shopkeeper for a tourist

A 1959 article from Stars and Stripes writes that royal guards were often annoyed with tourists. Of course, as part of their duty, they are unable to do much about this or even show emotion to the situation. Even so, one guard, Ronald Tibbetts stated, "I don't mind people taking photos." In July 2022, one guard may have believed that a pesky tourist wanted a photo with him as she was seen following him behind a pillar (via LADbible). Instead of staying quiet, he yelled, "Get out!" at the unsuspecting woman.

Unbeknownst to him, the woman was actually heading in his direction to open her shop. The woman, who was taken aback by his reaction, signals to her booth in the video. When he realizes that she is not a tourist, he backs away. MyLondon states that the guard also smiled when he realized his mistake. The video, which was first shared on TikTok left viewers sympathizing with the guard. They noted that he was likely humiliated. Others reprimanded the woman for not letting the guard pass first before heading to open her shop.

The royal guard that fainted next to Queen Elizabeth II's coffin

After the queen's death on September 8 (via NPR), AP News explains that her coffin was taken to Westminster Hall to lie in state until the day of her funeral. According to Hello Magazine, some of the queen's guards got the honor to stand by the four corners of her coffin. However, this was not an easy feat as they were required to stand still for six hours. They were only allowed to move every 20 minutes to change their position. It seems like this proved to be too much for one guard who promptly collapsed. The Independent writes that the BBC captured this moment.

The New York Post states the guard was standing on a platform when he began to wobble in place. Despite gathering himself, he quickly toppled over while mourners looked on. The guard received aid and the BBC stopped streaming live footage of the event. Express reports that the unnamed guard actually followed royal protocol for fainting as he collapsed face-down. Rare Historical Photos explains that fainting among royal guards is nothing new. Standing in one position for hours decreases blood flow and circulation, resulting in fainting spells.