Royal Navy makes history by performing Changing the Guard ceremony

Royal Navy sailors have performed the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace for the first time in its 357-year history.

The ceremony has been taking place since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660.

It is traditionally performed by one of the five Foot Guards Regiments from the Army's Household Division, but crowds gathered on Sunday to watch 86 sailors carry out the intricate routine following a month of practice.

The sailors trained at the Royal Navy's headquarters in Portsmouth, with their new skills being polished by drill instructors from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.

They marched through the famous gates to the theme tune of Game of Thrones, watched by thousands of tourists.

Ahead of the ceremony, warrant officer 1st Class Eddie Wearing, the Royal Navy's state ceremonial training officer, said: "It's daunting, but I'm very excited.

"To be the conducting warrant officer for the first mount ever in the Royal Navy is a massive privilege and an honour to do. I'm really looking forward to it."

The roots of the Changing the Guard ceremony can be traced back to the reign of Henry VII when the first royal bodyguard was created.

But a group of soldiers from the Grenadier Guards, one of the five Foot Guards Regiments, were not worried they would be upstaged.

One said: "We've been doing it for 300 years. It's about time we let [the Navy] have a turn.

The Royal Navy's turn in the Changing the Guard ceremony is one of many events staged to celebrate 2017 as "The Year of the Navy".

It marks the arrival of several new ships to the fleet, including the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

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