Who are the Queen’s bodyguards?

·2-min read
The King's Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the Life Guards, the Blues and Royals, and Yeomen of the Guard stand guard around the coffin of the Queen, inside Westminster Hall on September 14  (Photo by Oli Scarff /WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The King's Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the Life Guards, the Blues and Royals, and Yeomen of the Guard stand guard around the coffin of the Queen, inside Westminster Hall on September 14 (Photo by Oli Scarff /WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen is lying-in-state in Westminster Hall, where she will remain until her funeral on Monday (September 19). Public mourners are visiting to pay their respects, and a rotation of bodyguards will be protecting the Queen’s coffin.

There are three ceremonial units tasked with guarding the sovereign as she lies-in-state.

The Gentlemen at Arms (the most senior of the sovereign's guards) were the first royal bodyguards to begin the vigil, and can be seen standing closest to the coffin as Her Majesty rests on the raised platform, known as a catafalque.

The Royal Company of Archers, and the Yeomen of the Guard will also stand guard.

The Royal Company of Archers are the sovereign's official guards in Scotland, who guarded the Queen’s coffin when she was lying at rest in Scotland.

The continuous 24-hour vigil will be broken into four six-hour shifts and these shifts will rotate, with the guards swapping places every 20 minutes.

On the first day of the vigil, as Westminster Hall opened to the public, six Gentlemen at Arms stood on the raised platform the coffin was placed on, with four at each corner and two facing forward towards the entrance.

The Gentlemen at Arms

The Gentlemen at Arms are the most senior group of the sovereign's bodyguards, who accompany the monarch to ceremonial occasions.

They are the more senior of the bodyguard groups, classed as the 'nearest guard' to the King.

The order consists of five officers (the Captain, the Lieutenant, the Standard Bearer, the Clerk of the Cheque, and the Harbinger) and 27 Gentlemen at Arms.

The Yeomen of the Guard

The Yeoman make up the oldest established military corps still in service in the United Kingdom.

Unlike the Gentlemen at Arms, all members of the Yeoman Guard are former warrant or non-commissioned officers of the British forces.

The Royal Company of Archers

The Royal Company of Archers functions as the Sovereign's 'Body Guard in Scotland'.

Aside from its role as the Sovereign’s bodyguard, the Royal Company of Archers still functions as an archery club, which is what it was originally formed as in 1676.

There are 530 members in total. Members of the Royal Company must be Scots or have strong Scottish connections.