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Sailors perform Changing of the Guard ceremony for the first time

Members of the Navy line up for the historic ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace. Credit: PA

Sailors in Royal Navy have performed the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace for the first time in the ceremony's 357-year history.

Eighty-six sailors have spent a month learning the intricate routines to prepare for the "exciting but daunting" moment of their debut in central London on Sunday morning.

The ceremony has been taking place since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660 and is traditionally performed by one of the five Foot Guards Regiments from the Army's Household Division.

The change marks the end of the Year of the Navy in 2017, which saw the introduction of several new ships to the fleet.

Soldiers carrying out the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Credit: PA

The roots of the Changing of the Guard ceremony can be traced all the way back to the reign of Henry VII when the first royal bodyguard was created.

Warrant Officer 1st Class Eddie Wearing, the Royal Navy's state ceremonial training officer, said ahead of the event: "It's daunting, but I'm very excited.

"To be the conducting warrant officer for the first mount ever in the Royal Navy is a massive privilege and an honour to do. I'm really looking forward to it."

Crowds gathered to see the Navy take their turn.

The sailors marched through the famous gates to the theme tune of Game Of Thrones, watched by thousands of tourists.

Sailors rehearsing the drills ahead of their historic debut. Credit: Royal Navy

Members of the Grenadier Guards, one of the five Foot Guards Regiments, were also watching the ceremony from the sidelines for a change.

"They could be better," said one. "They won't ever be able to do it like the Grenadiers can."

He added: "We popped in to the Wellington Barracks last night and they were dead nervous. They've only had a month to train."

Another joked: "We've been doing it for 300 years. It's about time we let [the Navy] have a turn.

"Don't let them say we never do anything for them."