National Trust Association hears about Yeomen of the Guard

Wiltshire Times: A talk about the Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard was enjoyed at a meeting of North & West Wiltshire National Trust Association A talk about the Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard was enjoyed at a meeting of North & West Wiltshire National Trust Association

At the recent AGM at the Seend Community Centre it was reported that 65 new members had joined during the past year and that our programme of lectures, day trips and stay away holiday were well supported.

Members were then entertained by an inspiring account of Shaun McCormack service with the Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard.

The oldest British military corps still in existence, it was created by Henry VII in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field. As a token of this venerability, the Yeomen still wear red and gold uniforms of Tudor style.

There are 60 Yeomen of the Guard (plus six Officers), drawn from retired members of the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, but traditionally not the Royal Navy, because members of the Navy take an oath to the Admiralty.

This ban on Royal Navy personnel was lifted in 2011 and two sailors joined the ranks of the Yeomen of the Guard. However, the role of the Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard is a political appointment — the captain is always the government Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords Today the Yeomen of the Guard have a purely ceremonial role.

They accompany the Sovereign at the annual Royal Maundy Service, investitures and summer garden parties at Buckingham Palace.

Their most famous duty is to ‘ceremonially’ search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster prior to the State Opening of Parliament, a tradition that dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament.

The Yeomen of the Guard are often confused with the Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London, popularly known as Beefeaters, a similar but distinct body.

Mr McCormack displayed items of uniform and memorabilia which was of great interest and after numerous questions was given a round of applause.

The previous month’s lecture was given by Angie Grist about the work of International China Concern. This was founded by David Gotts in 1993.

Among its roles is to care for newly abandoned children while children living in state-run facilities, are moved into an ICC home, or work to elevate the standards of care in the Chinese centres is carried out.

Details of its work can be found on at www.chinaconcern.org while details of NTA membership and activities can be found at www.nwwnta.org.uk or by contacting the membership secretary on (01225) 703730.

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