In preparation for King Charles’ historic Trooping the Colour celebrations on Saturday, June 17, soldiers dressed in their iconic white and red uniforms were observed practicing formations to accompany the monarch on his horseback procession, serving a crucial purpose of guarding the royal family’s residences and synonymous with British pageantry.
The first time isn’t when guards fainted, but this isn’t a good job. You did really well, but the conditions were difficult in the morning heat. I want to thank every soldier who took part in the Colonel’s review, even Prince William who acknowledged the difficult conditions in a tweet. While soldiers managed to get up and resume rehearsals, some had to be whisked away on stretchers. During the Trooping the Colour rehearsal at the Parade Guards Horse, at least three guardsmen fainted as temperatures rose to almost 30C.
The BBC was forced to suspend the live broadcast of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral after a policeman suddenly collapsed outside Westminster Abbey, just moments after one of her royal guards protecting Her Majesty collapsed in the state Hall of Westminster. This incident made headlines late last year.
The soldiers in ceremonial attire were instructed to remain perfectly motionless for a duration of six hours at each corner of the coffin. However, they were allowed to switch positions every 20 minutes to ensure a continuous, 24-hour watch over the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall.
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The sentinel was positioned at the base of the deceased sovereign’s coffin when he fainted. Swiftly disseminated on social platforms, video of the sentinel’s abrupt collapse, which occurred approximately at 1am. Prior to the live broadcast being halted, spectators were growing more worried about the guard of the Queen, who was promptly assisted by adjacent authorities.
A TikTok user expressed their worry at the moment, stating, “I feel sorry for him, I hope he’s not injured. That was a terrible tumble,” while another user commented, “It must be extremely stressful. This is one of the most significant occurrences globally.”
“I wish he’s okay,” another person chimed in. “It must be very challenging to sustain such a position for a prolonged duration.”
It is not uncommon for fainting to occur during large-scale events like the Trooping Colour, especially considering the extended duration of these periods, particularly for the King’s guards.
In fact, Major Dai Bevan says that even the soldiers are taught to pay attention to the faintest details at the wedding of Princess and Prince in Wales, with a 101-strong Honour Guard led by the Welsh Guards.
The palace guards are susceptible to fainting when commanded to stand for lengthy periods.
Soldiers prevent the support for adjacent infrastructure or falling sideways. The soldiers who can fall forward with their bayonet-tipped rifles while maintaining their discipline demonstrate true dedication, as stated by The Express.
In 2016, a member of the royal guard fainted during Trooping the Colour.
“It will likely entail a fractured nose and a great deal of teeth being absent,” Major Dai Bevan adds.
The duty of protecting the Monarch by the Household Troops (as they were called during that period) can be traced back to the reign of Henry VII (1485 – 1509).
The training of becoming a royal guardsman requires years of discipline and impeccable conduct. Since the 17th century, the King’s Army has fought in almost every major conflict area, with the guardsmen being regarded as some of the finest soldiers in the British military.
The guards of the Queen are trained to “collapse to attention”.
Not mentioning the weight of their uniform, fulfilling their duties can put immense strain on the mind and body, causing swelling in the feet, lower back pain, muscle strain, and exhaustion. It may appear easy to still stand perfectly for elongated periods of time, but it can be physically and mentally challenging.
EXPLORE: Prince Louis’ mischievous behavior at Trooping the Colour alongside siblings George and Charlotte.