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French troops to join Changing of the Guard

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French troops to join Changing of the Guard

They’ll become the first non-Commonwealth military personnel to take part in the ceremony at Buckingham Palace

France will become the first non-Commonwealth country to take part in the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony today, as 32 members of the Gendarmerie’s Garde Republicaine and 40 Guardsmen from F Company Scots Guards parade together on the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

The ceremony has been organised to mark the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale – the historic diplomatic agreement between Britain and France which laid the groundwork for their collaboration in both world wars.

Ahead of the inspection by the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, personnel gathered to rehearse the event on Friday.

Lt Col James Shaw, who has been responsible for designing the ceremony, said: “This is a sign of the strength of our relations. The French are some of our closest friends.

“And who knows when we might need each other?

“Practice has been relatively straightforward. The French look great and we’re in a really good place for Monday.

“We’re super excited for this historic moment.”

The ceremony, which will take place at 11am, will see the group of soldiers traditionally relieved by a new detachment of troops in front of an audience of 40 VIPs.

They will be inspected by the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the UK Chief of General Staff (CGS), General Sir Patrick Sanders, the French Chief of the Army Staff, General Pierre Schill, and the French ambassador to the UK Helene Duchene.

The Gendarmerie will be marched on and off the Buckingham Palace forecourt by the Band of the Grenadier Guards, who will also perform both countries’ national anthems and a programme of Anglo-French music.

While the Gendarmerie will participate in the ancient ceremony, they will not take the place of their British counterparts in guarding the King. This responsibility is only afforded to members of the British Armed Forces and Commonwealth troops.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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