The Queen’s Guard is the regiment guarding the Buckingham Palace and St James’ Palace but they are also responsible for providing the guard at the Tower of London. As the Tower is still an official royal residence and also the location of the crown jewels, it remains the army’s obligation to guard it. Their responsibilities entail the protection of the Tower (together with the Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters), including securing the sites for the night. The Tower guard numbers only a handful of soldiers, one of which is always posted outside the Jewel House and one outside the Queen’s House. It’s a big honour to serve in the guard, however, considering they’re not allowed to talk or move while posted (apart from the occasional march of 10 paces), it must be one of the most solitary professions in Western society.
Here’s an interesting trivia about Her Majesty’s Royal Yeoman Warders, better known as Beefeaters: nobody really knows where their common name originates from, not for sure anyway. There are some theories though. The name Beefeater is the corruption of the old French word bueffetier , which means food taster. The name was supposedly introduced by King Edward (Longshanks) I, the Hammer of the Scots, who in his fear of assassination employed guards as food tasters and personal bodyguards. Another theory implies that the name comes from the guards’ eating habits. They lived on the royal grounds with their families, and while most people outside the walls lived in poverty and couldn’t afford good meat, the Yeoman Warders were eating the leftovers from the king’s table including the protein-rich red meat. We may never learn the truth.