They're not just window decorations.
They may be an iconic tourist photo, but let it be known that you should never mess with the Queen’s Guard. The stoic soldiers who keep watch over the royal’s official residences were pushed to their limits yesterday when a tourist jumped the barrier and they took action.
It’s a cautionary warning to anybody who might want to take a cheeky picture with the bearskin-wearing guards, who have become an iconic sight with their crisp red and black uniforms and fully-functional bayonet rifles. At Windsor Castle, a woman stepped over the rope barrier and it didn’t take long for a Queen’s Guard to take action – shoving her roughly out of his way.
The video, which was shared widely on Chinese social media platform Weibo, shows the tourist posing for a photograph in a bright yellow dress directly in the path of the guard. Holding his rifle in one hand, the guard uses his free one to shove her a metre forwards and is caught by the man taking her photo. It’s unknown if the guard warned her beforehand as the video starts just seconds before the shove.
The UK Ministry of Defence told the Telegraph in regards to the incident, ‘The Household Division is proud to guard Her Majesty and honoured that people come from around the world to watch our ceremonial spectacle. The ropes are there to protect both the public and our soldiers; please stay behind them.’
That said, earlier this year a former Buckingham Palace guard revealed that he had nearly shot the queen while she was off for a little stroll around the palace grounds when she couldn’t sleep. Kate Middleton and Prince George are also guarded personally by armed officers around the clock.
This is not the first time that a tourist incident with the guards has gone viral, as back in 2015 another tourist ran up to a Queen’s Guard and put his hand on him. The guard screamed at him ‘get back from the Queen’s guard’ and lowered his bayonet rifle at him, which is considered a final warning before an assault.
A royal expert told the BBC, ‘The cordon is there to signify that you should not overstep it, and if you do, then the Royal Guardsmen have the right to determine that you are a danger to the place that they are guarding. They are permitted to use guns in such a situation. Pushing would be considered the most lenient way of settling such a matter.’