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Changing the Guard is one of the oldest and most familiar ceremonies associated with Buckingham Palace.

The proper name of the ceremony known as Changing the Guard is actually Guard Mounting. In this process a New Guard exchanges duty with the Old Guard and both Guards are drawn from one of the regiments of Foot Guards.

The handover is accompanied by a Guards band. The music played ranges from traditional military marches to songs from musical shows and even familiar pop songs.

When The Queen is in residence, there are four sentries at the front of the building. When she is away there are two.

The Queen's Guard usually consists of Foot Guards in full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins. If they have operational commitments, other infantry units such as the Brigade of Gurkhas take part instead.

Watching the ceremony

Buckingham Palace - Guard Mounting takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11 am, and lasts about 30 minutes. There is no Guard Mounting in very wet weather. During the autumn and winter, Guard Mounting takes place on alternate days, but it is held daily during spring and summer. Buckingham Palace is immediately adjacent to St James's Park and The Green Park.

Horse Guards Arch - the Changing the Guard takes place daily at 11am (10am on Sundays) and lasts about 30 minutes. It is held on Horse Guards Parade by Whitehall, which is located east of St James's Park.

During the Changing the Guard the following roads will remain closed between 10.15am and 11.45am; Constitution Hill, the Queen Victoria Memorial, Spur Road, Link Road and The Mall (up to the junction with Marlborough Road). In addition, on Sundays Marlborough Road, Constitution Hill and The Mall will be closed by 9am and reopen at dusk.

Please note that from January 16, 2017, Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace will take place on fixed days in the Autumn and Winter; on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays between 10.15am and 11.45am.


Daily in summer months (April to July), alternate dates for the remainder of the year (August to March).


Buckingham Palace is located immediately adjacent to St James's Park and The Green Park.

Horse Guards Arch is at the Trafalgar Square end of St James's Park.

The official Changing the Guard app

The official Changing the Guard app has been designed by The Royal Collection to enhance the experience of watching this traditional military ceremony, which has taken place at Buckingham Palace since 1837.

You can purchase and download the app from the iTunes store for 69p or visit The Royal Collection website for more information.

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