Return to form! Buckingham Palace hosted its first Changing of the Guard ceremony since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of the iconic event.
During the Monday, August 23, ceremony, the Band of the Coldstream Guards played a medley of hits in tribute to the U.K.’s Olympic team, including Spandau Ballet’s “Gold,” Whitney Houston‘s “One Moment in Time” and the theme from the film Chariots of Fire.
Since the Changing of the Guard was paused last year, the guardsmen have occupied their traditional positions outside Buckingham Palace, but they have undergone their personnel changes without any music or fanfare. The break marked the longest suspension of the tradition since World War II.
Following Monday’s ceremony, the Changing of the Guard will continue to take place at Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Palace and the Tower of London on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Queen Elizabeth II, however, was not present for the occasion, as she is currently at Balmoral in Scotland for her traditional summer vacation.
The Changing of the Guard is just one of many royal traditions that have been interrupted by the pandemic. In June, the queen, 95, attended Royal Ascot after missing it in 2020 for the first time in 68 years. (The iconic horse race still happened last year but took place behind closed doors without any guests in attendance.)
“I think this is her passion in life, and she loves it and you can tell how much she loves it,” Duchess Camilla told ITV earlier this year of the monarch’s passion for horse racing. “She can tell you every horse she’s bred and owned, from the very beginning. She doesn’t forget anything. I can hardly remember what I bred a year ago, so she’s encyclopedic about her knowledge.”
When the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, died in April at age 99, the royals decided not to host a full state funeral for the late duke so as not to interfere with the country’s coronavirus protocols.
A source told Us Weekly at the time that “only a select few” would attend the April 17 ceremony, in accordance with local health guidelines. The royal family also asked mourners to refrain from laying flowers at the palace ahead of Philip’s memorial, instead suggesting that those interested in honoring the late prince make a charitable donation or leave a tribute in an online book of condolences on the royal family’s website.
“I’m so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and in the Commonwealth who also share our loss and our sorrow,” Prince Charles said in April after his father’s death. “We are deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”
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