The Royal Gibraltar Regiment takes up its royal duties

The Royal Gibraltar Regiment takes up its royal duties


The Royal Gibraltar Regiment takes up its royal duties

In this morning’s bright Spring sunshine, fifty children from St Anne’s School in Gibraltar were amongst the huge crowds gathered in front of Buckingham Palace to watch the traditional ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony. By 11 o’clock, it was estimated that there were nearly ten thousand people squeezed behind police barriers, all of them eager to watch the Coldstream Guards hand over to the Royal Gibraltar Regiment (RG).

On the dot of 11.27, the RG Band led the Regiment’s detachment out of Wellington Barracks, in through the huge gates of Buckingham Palace and on to the centre of the Palace forecourt where they were met by the cheers of the Gibraltarian school children. The RG’s scarlet tunics were a perfect match for those of the waiting Guardsmen but their white Kitchener helmets were in sharp contrast to the black bearskins of the Old Guard.

In the group of VIPs watching from the edge of the forecourt was His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar, Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns and former Governors, Field Marshal Sir John Chapple and Lord Luce.

Under the command of the Captain of the Queen’s Guard, Major Ivor Lopez, the 40 minute drill parade was immaculate. Once the outgoing Guard had marched off, the RG detachment divided into two, with one half marching off with the Regimental Band to take up sentry duties outside nearby St James’s Palace and the other half remaining at Buckingham Palace. For the next two weeks, these two royal palaces, along with the Tower of London, will be guarded by the RG, only the second time that the Regiment has performed these public duties in London.

‘We are delighted to be carrying out these prestigious duties at a time when London is the focus for so many high profile events,’ said the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Colin Risso MC. ‘And even though I am used to seeing the high standard of turnout and drill delivered by my soldiers, it was still impressive to see them take their place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace this morning.’

On Saturday 21 April, in addition to guarding the three palaces, members of the Regiment’s Headquarter Company will fire a spectacular 62 Royal Gun Salute at the Tower of London, thus showcasing the Regiment’s unique heritage. In 1991, its main role switched from artillery to infantry but it retains the ability (and the L118 Light Guns) to enable it to continue to fire ceremonial salutes.

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