Queen's Guard knocks over child while on patrol - here's the reason why they don't stop

The video has been viewed thousands of times on TikTok

TikTok users have branded a London guard "out of order" after a video went viral of a child being knocked over.

In the footage, onlookers in the grounds of the Tower of London shriek as the guard collides with the young boy - said to be a tourist - before continuing to walk on despite the boy falling to the ground.

In a statement, a Tower of London spokesperson said: "We are aware of this incident and were sorry to see this. The Guard at the Tower do take care to warn the public when they’re moving, and this was an unfortunate accident. Our staff and the soldier checked in on the family afterwards and were reassured that all was well."

While some viewers have shared their shock at the incident, others have jumped to the soldier's defence, saying he was just doing his job. But what does that involve, and what does the official protocol say?

The Queen's Guard outside St James's Palace, London. Credit: PA Images

What is the Queen's guard?

The Queen's Guard is a company of fully operational soldiers (sentries) who guard the official royal residences in the UK. This covers Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James's Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle.

Their primary purpose is to protect the Sovereign, however they also carry out many ceremonial duties, for example at the Queen's birthday parade, also known as 'Trooping the Colour'.

What do they do while on duty?

The guards at Buckingham Palace and St James Palace are on duty for 24 or 48 hours. During that time, a guard will have two hours on sentry duty and then four hours off.

A sentry will come to attention every 10 minutes, slope arms (hold their rifle at a slope) and march across their post, normally about 20 paces in total. Having repeated this four or five times, the guard halts, shoulders arms (brings the rifle on the left or right sides by the shoulder) and returns to standing at ease (a more relaxed position).

A member of The Queen's Guard on duty outside Buckingham Palace. Credit: PA Images

What other rules do they have to follow?

In the orders read to them at the beginning of their 'tour of duty', it states: "You may not eat, sleep, smoke, stand easy, sit or lie down during your tour of duty".

How do they deal with members of the public?

Foot guards are trained on how to deal with threats and nuisances from the public and onlookers are warned that they must move out of guards' way as they will not alter their course.

The first way they do this is by coming to attention, as the crash of a studded ammo boot striking concrete, is a good way to grab attention, and this is usually accompanied by a shout of 'stand back from the guard' or something similar.

Should the nuisance persist, the sentry repeats the above and moves their weapon to the slope with a similar shout.

The final warning is to issue an official challenge to the person. The sentry will slope arms and then move the weapon into a position called 'port arms' where the weapon points at the person.

This is considered the final warning and the next step would be for the sentry to either detain the person or seek assistance.

On the official website, a notice reads:

The Queen's Company First Battalion Grenadier Guards at Windsor Castle. Credit: PA Images

Have their been incident involving tourists before?

In recent times, more and more of the sentry posts have been moved away from the public because of incidents involving tourists interfering with the guards' job, as well as incidents where the guards have had to discipline tourists for disrespectful or dangerous behaviour.

In 2012, footage of a tourist disrespecting the guards went viral, in which a Russian tourist refused to stop their attempt at climbing the Buckingham Palace fence despite the guard aiming his SA80 rifle at the would-be intruder.

Most recently, ropes were installed between the sentry posts at Windsor Castle and the public after an incident occurred between a sentry and a tourist who was mocking him, pretending to march alongside him and eventually grabbing the shoulder on which his rifle was resting.

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