Changing of the Guard returns to Buckingham Palace with delightful Spandeau Ballet tribute

The Changing of the Guard tradition was observed at Buckingham Palace for the first time in nearly 18 months this morning

Members of the Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards and the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards take part in the Changing of the Guard, which is taking place for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in London on August 23, 2021. (Photo by Yui Mok / POOL / AFP) (Photo by YUI MOK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Yui Mok / POOL / AFP/Getty)

The first Changing of the Guard ceremony since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has occurred at Buckingham Palace, after a break of 17 months. 


After a 17-month-long hiatus, the Changing of the Guard is back in action—much to the delight of the Queen's loyal fans. 

The longstanding tradition, which marks the moment of exchange between Buckingham Palace's on and off-duty soldiers, was halted back in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. While the regular switch-up of troops continued throughout England's lockdown, the procedure was accompanied by no musical numbers or ceremonial rituals—a measure that hoped to deter crowds from gathering as COVID-19 swept the capital. 

With the majority of the UK population now vaccinated, the Queen has given the go-ahead for the Changing of the Guard to resume—and it looks like the wait has all been worth it. The patriotic spectacle kicked off on Monday with the new guard, the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards, marching up to the palace to swap places with the old guard, Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards. 

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Dressed in their iconic 18inch tall bearskin hats and ornately decorated scarlet tunics, the troops played several musical numbers in tribute to the British Olympic team—including Gold by Spandau Ballet, The Olympic Theme from the film Chariots of Fire, and Whitney Houston's A Moment in Time. 

The Queen, who is still on her summer holiday at Balmoral Castle, was unfortunately not able to make the event, but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of its excited attendees—nor its performers. The military troops had put a huge amount of toil into the production and were more than ready to showcase it in front of an audience. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 23: Members of the Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards take part in the Changing of the Guard, which is taking place for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, at Buckingham Palace on August 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Changing of the Guard resumed at Buckingham Palace on 23 August 2021 for the first time in 17 months 

(Image credit: Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

"It’s been a long time coming, said Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew Stokes, of the Coldstream Guards, said: “Bearing in mind it’s been 18 months since we last did a ceremonial Changing the Guard (at Buckingham Palace), there’s been an awful lot of hard work and preparation getting people up to standard.”

The event was particularly special for the younger soldiers, some of whom had never performed their set for a crowd before. "Eighteen months is a long time in the military," said Major Stokes. "It’s a young man’s game—so there’ll be a lot of people on duty today that have been in the Army for 18 months but of course have never done this because we haven’t had the opportunity." 

Emma Dooney
Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.