Beefeaters at the Tower of London get new coats bearing King Charles’ initials ahead of the coronation
- From today, the 35 warders have been decked out in their ‘Blue Undress’
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It’s a change in uniform to mark a change in monarch – with Beefeaters getting new coats emblazoned with the King’s initials, just in time for the Coronation.
Officially named Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London, the guards have worn the monarch’s initials on their breast since 1570, when Elizabeth I was on the throne – and now, with a new King, they need new coats.
From today, the 35 warders have been decked out in their new garb, known as the ‘Blue Undress’, with a large royal crown in red and CIIIR – in honour of Charles – below.
The uniforms were made by a team of more than 40 tailors at Kashket & Partners – who have created uniforms for many members of the royal family – and paid for by the Historic Royal Palaces charity, which runs the Tower of London.
Each coat took over 30 hours to complete and weighs between 2.3kg and 3kg.
Yeoman warders pose for a portrait wearing theirt new uniform featuring King Charles III’s new insignia at the Tower of London today
They are officially named Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London
From today, the 35 warders have been decked out in their new garb, known as the ‘Blue Undress’, with a large royal crown in red and CIIIR – in honour of Charles
They are worn with navy trousers, a red and navy tasselled hat and buckled shoes.
The Yeoman Warders gained their ‘Beefeater’ nickname for the ration of daily meat they received for their duties. In 1813, the 30 warders were given 24lbs of beef, 18lbs of mutton ad 16lbs of veal.
Pete McGowran, chief Yeoman Warder at the Tower, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to unveil these new uniforms in the week preceding the coronation, continuing the Yeoman Body’s proud and long-standing association with the monarchy.
‘It will be an honour and a proud moment for us all to wear them in this very special week.’
The new uniforms are part of a series of changes to mark the King’s reign by Historic Royal Palaces at the Tower.
These include renaming The Queen’s House as The King’s House and adding new royal insignia above the Jewel House and to sentry boxes across the site.
To qualify for the role of Yeoman Warder of His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London – the full job title – applicants must have served at least 22 years in the Armed Forces, hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal, and have reached the rank of Warrant Officer or equivalent, before being invited for interview and a rigorous selection process.
As preparations intensify for the coronation, members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery were put through their paces at Woolwich Barracks in London.
Soldiers took part in the Advanced Mounted Gunner Pass Out – a final assessment which allows them to ride in ceremonial parades and take part in the gun salute celebrating the moment King is crowned at midday on May 6.
Charles ascended to the throne immediately following the death of Her Majesty, but his coronation will not be until Saturday, 6 May, 2023
The uniforms were made by a team of more than 40 tailors at Kashket & Partners
The new uniforms were paid for by the Historic Royal Palaces charity, which runs the Tower of London
Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller held the ceremonial Tower Axe, after being appointed the ancient title at Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London – picture from 2020
Charles ascended to the throne immediately following the death of Her Majesty, but his coronation will not be until Saturday, 6 May, 2023.
The royal coronation ceremony is an event that dates back over a thousand years and will take place inside Westminster Abbey, with Charles opting for a slimmed down occasion and a guest list of only around 2,000 people.
He will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned in the Abbey.
Charles will be 74 at the time of the ceremony, the oldest a new monarch has ever been crowned.
The guest list is much smaller compared to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, where more that 7,000 people packed into Westminster Abbey.
A Buckingham Palace statement said in October 2022: ‘The coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.’
It added: ‘The coronation is a solemn religious service, together with an occasion for celebration and pageantry.
‘The ceremony has retained a similar structure for over a thousand years, and this year’s coronation is expected to include the same core elements while recognising the spirit of our times.
‘For the last 900 years, the ceremony has taken place at Westminster Abbey, London. Since 1066, the service has almost always been conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.’
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