Queen breaks tradition for Buckingham Palace guards as London temperatures reach 40C

Guards at Buckingham Palace and other royal attractions were allowed to withdraw from their positions on Tuesday due to the unbearable heat

Queen breaks tradition for Buckingham Palace staff in UK heatwave
(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty Images)

The Queen's ceremonial guards were permitted to shelter from the heat yesterday, after midday temperatures reached a whopping 40C in London. 

The Queen's ceremonial guards were allowed to abandon their usual positions on Tuesday as midday temperatures rose to a record-breaking 40C. 

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the soldiers stationed at the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, and Windsor Castle were withdrawn at noon due to the dangerous working conditions of the UK's blistering heatwave. However, those in the Royal Guardrooms were expected to remain on duty if needed to support the police. 

The decision was made just one day after photos of a police officer pouring water into the mouth of a thirsty guardsman on Sentry Duty, which requires standing completely still for two hours, circulated online. 


The Queen's guards were withdrawn from their positions yesterday because of the heatwave 

(Image credit: Getty)

Royal fans were quick to voice their concerns over the welfare of the soldiers, who are required to wear uniforms of a heavy red tunic and bear-skinned hat even in the uncomfortably hot weather. The images have also fuelled dialogue over how hot is too hot to work, as trade unions call on the government to introduce a maximum temperature limit for workplaces in the UK. 

A spokesperson for the army has since shared details of the accommodations being made for the Queen's guards during this unprecedented heat. 

"The wellbeing of our soldiers is a priority at all times and we have put in place additional measures this week such as regular checks, flexible duties, and additional water to ensure they can continue to safely carry out their duties," they told Insider.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace was also shortened on Monday, while on Tuesday, guards had their duties 'reduced' in light of the scorching temperatures. 


Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.