The changing of the Queen's Life Guard on Horse Guards Parade

The King's Life Guard leave Hyde Park Barracks at 10.28am weekdays (9.28am Sundays) and ride to Horse Guards Parade via Hyde Park Corner, Constitution Hill and The Mall. The ceremony of changing the Life Guard then takes place on Horse Guards Parade at 11am weekdays (10am Sundays).

The mounted sentries outside the Whitehall entrance to Horse Guards (who change every hour) are on duty each day from 10am until 4pm, at which time there is a dismounted parade of the Guard. There are two dismounted sentries on duty until the gates are shut at 8pm, when only one sentry is left on guard until 7am when the second sentry returns on duty. No one, who is not in possession of the password, can gain admission to Horse Guards after the gates have been closed.

When The King is in London, the Guard consists of 1 Officer, 1 Corporal Major (who carries the Standard), 2 Non-Commissioned Officers, 1 Trumpeter and 10 Troopers. This is known as a Long Guard.

When His Majesty is not resident in London, the Guard is reduced to 2 Non-Commissioned Officers and 10 Troopers. This is known as a Short Guard. In early times the Guard was as much as 100 strong and provided Escorts to accompany the Sovereign if he or she travelled by road.

At the time of Guard Changing, the Old Guard forms up on the north side of the enclosure on Horse Guards Parade and the New Guard on the south side. As the New Guard arrives each Guard carries their Standard and the trumpeters of both Old and New Guards sound a Royal Salute on the arrival of the New Guard and on the departure of the Old Guard. When both Guards have formed up in the enclosure, the Corporal Major, Senior NCO and the sentries of the first relief of the New Guard leave for the Guard Room which is then handed over. The sentries of the Old Guard, after being relieved, rejoin the remainder of the Old Guard on the north side of the enclosure. The Standard and trumpeters only parade with a Long Guard.

Horse Guards today:

Horse Guards is named after the troops who have mounted the Sovereign's Life Guard here since the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660. It is the official entrance to St James's and Buckingham Palaces. Apart from members of the Royal Family or cavalrymen on duty, everyone needs the Sovereign's permission in the form of an Ivory Pass to either drive or ride through Horse Guards.

Since the 20th Century, Horse Guards has been principally Headquarters London District, administering all regular and Territorial Army units in Greater London. There is also Headquarters Household Division, from where are issued orders and minutely detailed instructions for important ceremonial occasions like The King's Birthday Parade, State Opening of Parliament and State Visits. Finally, there is the Regimental Headquarters of the Household Cavalry, which looks after records, contacts with old Comrades Associations and non-operational matters relating to the two Household Cavalry Regiments. One of these regiments -the Mounted Regiment - provides the one aspect of Horse Guards most easily recognised by the general public. Every day, whatever the season, whatever the weather, a new King's Life Guard comes down from Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge to take over guard duties for the next twenty-four hours. As the mounted box men, facing Whitehall, or as the dismounted sentries in the Archway and the Front Yard, they stoically endure the attentions of countless tourists. At the same time they maintain one of the more enduring traditions of London life: a tradition of cavalry maintaining vigil on this site that stretches back over three and a half centuries from the troubled times of Charles I to the present day.

A Visitor's Guide to Horse Guards


Changing the Guard Schedule for London and Windsor

Changing of The King’s Life Guard
occurs daily at 11:00am (10:00am on Sunday)
on Horse Guards Parade.

There is a dismounted parade at Horse Guards
at 4:00pm daily

More Information about The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment

In this Foreign Office film, a British Army Officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment discusses the diversity of the Household Cavalry and taking part in the Trooping the Colour parade.

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The HQ London District official webpage is at:

British Military Ceremonial
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