The Queen’s guards (now officially the King’s Guards) is one of Britain’s most iconic traditions. Recognized for their red coats and bearskin hats, the special brand of infantry is responsible for guarding the royal residences.
The guards are part of a long tradition. The monarchy has had its own guard of selected soldiers since the 15th Century and they’ve become a staple of British History. The most notable element of The Queen’s Guards is their sense of duty, their straight faces and stiff poses have drawn in tourists for years.
SALARY OF THE QUEEN’S GUARDS
The Queen’s Guards are employed by the British Army, so how much they get paid is dependent on their rank. The average salary for a soldier in the UK is £20,400 per annum. But the pay ranges drastically with the average salary of an infantryman being £18,932 per year, compared to the average salary of an Army Officer which is £28,556.
That means that members of the Royal Guard will have varied salaries depending on how highly ranked they are in the Army.
In order to join the Royal Guard, trainee soldiers must pass the British Army Recruit (BARB) test. Although a physically demanding role, there is an opportunity to progress within the ranks which can be rewarding.
THE DUTIES OF A QUEEN’S GUARD
The Queen’s guards are expected to act with discipline, which explains the lifeless expressions during sentry. The guards’ pay is dependent on upholding this etiquette, if they’re caught smiling or laughing on duty, they can be fined up to £200.
As mentioned, the job can be physically strenuous. Their shifts can last up to 48 hours and they can be on their feet for up to 6 hours at a time.
The guards must carry on whatever the weather. The rain can add a significant amount of weight to the bearskin hats and the heat can cause fainting spells. Guards are to follow a ‘fainting etiquette’ during these sweltering months. They must keep their composure and fall to the ground face-down whilst holding their rifles!