Photo shows Yeoman Warders taking a break from 20 minute shifts holding vigil in Westminster Hall

Beefeaters guarding Queen’s coffin have a well-earned rest: Photo shows Yeoman Warders taking a break from 20 minute shifts holding vigil in Westminster Hall

  • Photo shows the guards taking a break behind the scenes of Westminster Hall
  • The guards typically work 37 hours a week, often over the weekend and at night
  • One guard was recorded falling after passing out from exhaustion Wednesday
  • Yeoman Warders have been guarding the Tower of London since Tudor times
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

The Royal guards who stand by Queen Elizabeth II‘s flag-draped coffin have been pictured taking a well-earned rest.

The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, nicknamed the ‘beefeaters’, stand guard over the deceased monarch.

One photo show the loyal guards taking a break behind the scenes of Westminster Hall on Sunday as they rotate every 20 minutes over a six-hour shift.

The Queen is lying in state on the catafalque at Westminster Hall ahead of Monday’s funeral.

The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, nicknamed the 'beefeaters', are pictured on a rest in-between their 20-minute shifts behind the scenes of Westminster Hall ahead of Monday's funeral

The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, nicknamed the ‘beefeaters’, are pictured on a rest in-between their 20-minute shifts behind the scenes of Westminster Hall ahead of Monday’s funeral

The Queen: All you need to know after her passing and a look back at her 70-year reign

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Three ceremonial units surround Her Majesty as she lies in state, with units watching over her on a 24-hour schedule.

The Yeomen of the Guard, pictured at rest, stand over her as well as the Gentlemen at Arms and the Royal Company of Archers.

‘They’re doing such a great job. Hat’s off to them,’ said one Twitter user.

‘I thank them all for their service,’ said another.

Yeoman Warders have been guarding the Tower of London since Tudor times, with members of their ranks drawn from all three branches of the military.

The group was originally part of Henry VIII’s personal bodyguard, traveling with the monarch for his protection.

The Yeoman Body of 37 men and women are all drawn from the Armed Forces.

Salaries for the posts start at £30,000 a year, and the job even comes with a flat — with many warders expected to live within the Tower with their families.

But the guard are required to have served 22 years in the army first, with applicants also expected to hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

The guards typically work 37 hours a week, often over the weekend, as well as overtime and some night shifts.

Annual leave is 23 days a year, rising to 25.5 upon completion of three years of employment and 26.5 days after completing ten years’ service.

One guard, a member of the Royal Company of Archers, was recorded falling to the ground having passed out from exhaustion while standing over the Queen’s coffin on Wednesday.

The man had moments earlier briefly stepped off the podium before retaking his place as other servicemen joined him for a changeover.

But seconds later he blacked out and fell forwards, landing sprawled on the stone floor to loud gasps from bystanders queueing to pay their respects.

The live stream also cut out for several minutes as police rushed to the man’s aid.

He reportedly recovered shortly afterwards, as thousands of mourners joined the queue to pay their final respects to the monarch following her death at Balmoral last Thursday.

The moment the guard fell forward onto the stone floor as police officers quickly rush to his aid this evening

The moment the guard fell forward onto the stone floor as police officers quickly rush to his aid this evening

Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters watch the gun salute to mark the formal declaration of King Charles III as Monarch in the Tower of London

Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters watch the gun salute to mark the formal declaration of King Charles III as Monarch in the Tower of London

Yeoman Warders, commonly known as Beefeaters, march across the Middle Drawbridge during a ceremonial event to mark the reopening to the public of the Tower of London on July 10, 2020

Yeoman Warders, commonly known as Beefeaters, march across the Middle Drawbridge during a ceremonial event to mark the reopening to the public of the Tower of London on July 10, 2020

The oldest existing military corp and royal bodyguards: The origins of Yeoman Warders

The Yeoman Warders were formed in 1485 by the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, after the Battle of Bosworth.

It is the oldest existing military corp and oldest of the royal bodyguards. 

Henry VIII decided that the Tower should be protected by part of the royal bodyguard after he moved his official resident away in 1509.

These ‘Yeoman Warders’ were eventually granted the right to wear the splendid red uniform, which today is known as the state dress uniform and is worn on state occasions such as the monarch’s birthday.

The more durable everyday dark blue ‘undress’ uniform was introduced in the 19th century.

The state dress uniform is worn on state occasions such as the monarch’s birthday

The state dress uniform is worn on state occasions such as the monarch’s birthday

Yeoman Warders are a detachment of the ‘Yeomen of the Guard’ and they have formed the Royal Bodyguard since at least 1509. 

Their origins stretch back as far as the reign of Edward IV (1461-83) 

As of 2018, there were 37 Yeoman Warders and on Chief Warder and their role is primarily ceremonial — greeting and guiding visitors.

Yeomen Warders participate in the Ceremony of the Keys each night — an ancient ritual when the main gates are locked for the night.

It is one of the oldest extant military ceremonies in the world.

The first female Yeoman Warder in the history of the institution, Moira Cameraon, was hired in 2007.  

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