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Why Do Royal Guards Stand So Still?

Have you ever wondered how the guards at Buckingham Palace stand so rigidly, face forward, remaining perfectly still?  It’s pretty fascinating and no doubt takes a lot of training.  I can barely stand in one position for even a minute before I need to move my body or lean on something.  What if their nose itches?  What if the tacos they ate at lunch are, uh, not sitting well?  Do they ever check Facebook?

Here’s an even better question: how come they don’t seem to be actually…you know…guarding?

I’m no security expert, but I think an effective way to guard a certifiably genuine palace would be to look around, scan a crowd, and maybe check with some other guards to see if there’s anything suspicious going on.  Please explain to me what a marching band has to do with securing the most famous landmark in England?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s cool and all.  Really freaking cool.  Ever see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington DC?  It’s great theater.  I just don’t get how this can be called security.  It’s nothing to laugh at either as it was just a couple of months ago that a Canadian guard was murdered while on duty with a similar style of so-called “protection.” An episode of Sherlock even explored the design flaw.

I get the feeling this is more about attracting tourists than national security.  Clearly, I’m not alone in wondering about the effectiveness of this strategy.  We constantly see pictures of people standing near the guards which seems awfully risky to be allowing.

You do realize that guy next to you might have a knife, right?

You do realize that guy next to you might have a knife, right? And what’s in the bag??

I’ve done some research and I guess the idea is that the soldier is at attention, in a position to defend at a moment’s notice.  Judging by the way they’re holding their rifles, though, I have to disagree. I’d think they should be wearing more armor, too.

How about we let these guards be guards and not just selfie props?  Am I wrong?

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About John Blanco

John Blanco is an avid game collector and loves to write about his hobby as much as he participates in it. He run the Denver Retro Gamers Facebook group in Denver, Colorado, and coordinates swap-style meetups with dozens of other collectors every couple of months.

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