The Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace follows a traditional format that is the basis for guard changing ceremonies which take place at other Palaces and Royal Residences.
The Old Guard (the soldiers currently on duty) form up in front of the palace and are relieved by the New Guard which arrives from Wellington Barracks. The New Guard is accompanied by a Band or Corps of Drums. The ceremony represents a formal handover of responsibilities.
The Guard at Buckingham Palace is typically provided by one of the five Foot Guards Regiments of the Household Division, identified by the number of buttons on their distinctive tunics and the plume in their bearskin caps.
You will notice that soldiers of both the Old Guard and New Guard carry regimental flags. Known as Colours, these traditionally served as regimental emblems which provided rallying points in battle. Today, they carry regimental distinctions or battle honours emblazoned on them.
How to watch:
Changing of The Queenâ€™s Guard takes place in front of Buckingham Palace at 11:30am and lasts for about 45 minutes. The ceremony is held daily from April to July and on alternate days from August to March. You should arrive early to get the best view. Soldiers gather at St Jamesâ€™s Palace and Wellington Barracks from 11:00am and march to Buckingham Palace accompanied by music.
Changing the Guard can sometimes be cancelled, especially in wet weather and can be decided as late as 11:15am on the day.