Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment begins guard of Buckingham Palace
Monday, Jul 14, 2014 03:30 pm
LONDON, England - A contingent from Canada's fabled Royal 22nd Regiment began standing on guard for the Queen on Monday.
About 70 members of the unit's ceremonial guard were in London to protect Buckingham Palace. They will assume the duties until this coming Saturday.
It's the first time the francophone regiment has stood guard at Buckingham Palace since 1940, when it was done at the request of King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth.
That also marked the first time the King's Guard Sentinels received commands not only from a non-British unit but also in French.
The changing of the guard, which is a must-see for tourists besides being a famous military ritual, consists of the old guard handing over responsibility for Buckingham Palace's safety to the new guard.
The responsibility is given to active infantry regiments that have shown discipline and precision in their movements.
The Canadian High Commission in London tweeted photos and video of the ceremony where the soldiers in red tunics and high fur busby hats marched smartly to complete the handover.
The Van Doos met with the Queen in a private reception on the weekend. She is the Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.
"It is an honour for us to know that our Colonel-in-Chief took time from her personal engagements to visit with all the members of the Royal 22nd Regiment," Maj.-Gen. (Retired) Alain Forand, the Van Doos' regimental colonel, said in a statement.
"It was a privilege to have a private exchange with Her Majesty."
The trip to London is part of commemorative activities by the regiment to highlight its history and that of the military in Canada.
The regiment's delegation will also visit First World War battlefields at Ypres and Passchendale in Belgium as well as Vimy Ridge in France.
The Royal 22nd Regiment, one of three regular force infantry regiments in the Canadian Armed Forces, has been involved in all the armed conflicts and many of the peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in which Canada played a role.
"Members of the Royal 22nd Regiment do Canadians proud, whenever and wherever they are called upon to serve," Lt.-Gen. Marquis Hainse, commander of the Canadian Army, said in a statement.
Forand called the ceremony "a historic moment" for the regiment.