The King’s Life Guard

The King’s Life Guard is conducted by soldiers of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment at Horse Guards. Horse Guards is named after the troops who have mounted The King’s Life Guard here since the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660.

The ceremony has remained mostly unchanged for over 350 years.

Changing of The King's Life Guard

Changing of The King's Life Guard

The ceremony of changing of the King’s Life Guard starts at 11am with the Old Guard formed up on Horse Guards Parade. As the New Guard arrives, a trumpeter sounds a royal salute and the officer salutes. The New Guard forms up facing the old one.

Once both lines are still, the corporal major, senior non-commissioned officer and sentries of the New Guard (the first relief) rein back their horses and leave for the guard room to take over their duties, which lasts for 48 hours. The sentries from the Old Guard return to the parade ground and the entire Old Guard returns back to barracks.

When the monarch is in London, there is a ‘long guard’ consisting of an officer, corporal major (who carries the regimental standard), two non commissioned officers, a trumpeter and 10 troopers. When the monarch is away, the guard is reduced to two non-commissioned officers and 10 troopers known as a ‘short guard’.

Whatever the season or weather, members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment ride down from Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge to take over guard duties.


The Guard Change currently takes place on: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am.

The two iconic soldiers on horses that mount duty on Whitehall at the entrance of Horse Guards change on the hour every hour from 10am until 4pm.

This ensures that, regardless of the time you choose to visit the museum, you are guaranteed a captivating spectacle of ceremonial duties in progress.

A historic role...

A historic role...

The King’s Life Guard is the name given to the guard duty performed by The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment at Horse Guards. It dates from 1660 when The Life Guards mounted a permanent guard at the entrance to Whitehall Palace.

Responsibility for mounting the guard alternates between The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals.

An inspection at Hyde Park Barracks decides which ‘relief’ a soldier will do: the smartest will carry out his duty on his horse and the least well turned out will do longer duties on foot. The guard then rides to Horse Guards via Hyde Park Corner, Constitution Hill and The Mall.

Discover the Household Cavalry Museum

10am – 6pm, April to October / 10am – 5pm, November to March / Last admission 45 minutes before closing.


In line with security protocol for the King’s Birthday Parade, the museum will be operating different hours during May. June and July.

Please check the link below before visiting:

Museum ceremonial operating hours