This morning at 11am the first King’s Guard Mount of the reign of His Majesty King Charles III took place, with the newly recreated Number 12 Company Irish Guards stepping off from Wellington Barracks to take over from Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards, who became the King’s Guard immediately upon the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
They formally handed over to the new King’s Guard on Buckingham Palace forecourt in front of crowds of thousands surrounding the Palace.
Before stepping off from Wellington Barracks, the new King’s Guard was inspected with the Band of the Scots Guards, directed by Major Tony Williams, without the usual incidental music.
Senior Drum Major Warrant Officer Class Two Chambers, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, led the Band of the Scots Guards followed by the New Guard, Number 12 Company Irish Guards, to Buckingham Palace. At the head of the procession was Irish Guards Mascot, Irish Wolfhound Turlough Mor (affectionately known as Seamus). During the short journey from Wellington Barracks to the Gates of Buckingham Palace the Band of the Scots Guards performed “The King’s Guard” March, which was composed in 1904.
Once in position at Buckingham Palace the ceremony continued without incidental music and the Old Guard, Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards, formally handed over duties to the New Guard, Number 12 Company Irish Guards.
Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards was the first King’s Guard of King Charles III’s reign. It was the Coldstream Guards who ensured the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, placing His Majesty’s namesake and ancestor, King Charles II, on the throne, so it was only fitting that this same Regiment that was also present for the accession of King Charles III.
God Save Our Gracious King
After the Principal Proclamation at St James’s Palace on Saturday, the Band of the Coldstream Guards played the National Anthem, God Save Our Gracious King, and the Guardsmen from the Coldstream Guards laid down their weapons, removed their bearskin caps and gave a rousing three cheers for His Majesty The King, proving once more their unstinting loyalty to the new Sovereign.
The overt symbolism of this action echoed the day when their antecedents laid down their arms in 1661 before His Majesty King Charles II who then named the former Parliamentarian soldiers his new Royal Regiment of Foot Guards.
Number 12 Company Irish Guards is one of two new Foot Guards Public Duties Companies (PDCs) created as part of the Army’s Future Soldier transformation programme. It performed its first Guard Mount on Friday 2 September 2022, resurrecting the traditions and ethos of the historic and battle honoured 2nd Battalion Irish Guards.