PEOPLE flock from all over the world for a chance to see members of the Queenâs Guard standing silently at their posts in their giant fluffy hats and red coats.
But other than pictures of people trying to break their stern demeanour or the occasional video of a guard putting a particularly annoying tourist in their place, we donât see much of them.
However there are very specific reasons behind their unsmiling faces and tall, âBearskinâ hats â in fact their whole uniform is designed with potentially terrifying and embarrassing events in mind.
And while you think it might be funny to try and make a guard crack a smile, you could be costing them more than you realise.
So here is a list of some things you probably didnât know (or might have wrongly assumed) about the Queenâs Guard.
DONâT ASSUME THEY WONâT REACT IF YOU ANNOY THEM
While they might come across as unshakeable, they are humans and, just like anyone else, some of them have more patience than others.
It is not unheard of for a guard to shout warnings at unrelenting tourists or push them aside if they are in their way.
Short commands like âMake way for the Queenâs Guard!â are permitted if the situation calls for it.
Recent footage of a Queenâs Guard shoving a tourist out of the way outside Windsor Castle shows that you really donât want to be in their line of sight when their patience wears thin.
If someone is being particularly aggressive or they are perceived as a threat the guards will point their rifles at them as a warning.
THOSE GUNS ARE PROBABLY NOT LOADED
During a Q&A on Reddit, a working guardsman, under the username ânibs123â, revealed that most of the time the guns they carry arenât actually loaded.
He said that the majority of the time police will take care of any tourists that might be taking things too far.
However this changes if there is a perceived threat in the area.
âYou only carry live rounds if there is a high threat level that someone will attack,â he said.
âBut I have never carried any.â
But even if it isnât loaded, having a sharpened bayonet pointed at your face wouldnât be a very pleasant experience.
MONEY IS ON THE LINE IF THEY SMILE
People will do almost anything to get the notoriously stern-faced guards to crack a smile, but what they donât realise is that doing so could cost them big time.
If a Queenâs Guard is caught by a superior smiling or laughing at a touristâs joke or silly antics it could cost them.
The guardsman said they can be charged âa few days to a weekâs payâ if they are caught.
According to the Reddit thread, it is usually around â€200 ($A355) if you are seen laughing or smiling.
THEY HAVE TO FAINT A CERTAIN WAY
Standing outside in the sun for hours on end dressed in a fur hat and layers of thick clothing is not an easy task and even some of the most disciplined guards succumb to the heat.
But even when fainting, there is still protocol that has to be followed.
If a guard starts to feel a bit light-headed while on duty they are trained to âfaint to attentionâ meaning they have to keep their disciplined pose even when falling to the ground.
This is why you often see pictures of passed out guards lying flat on their face.
THE CREEPY REASON FOR THE HATS
Called Bearskin hats, they were originally designed to make the guards seem taller and more intimidating.
In the case of an attack, soldiers would aim for their heads, so they would fasten their chin straps under their noses to avoid the hat âbreaking our necksâ when it got shot off, the guard said.
THE EMBARRASSING REASON THEIR PANTS ARE BLACK
When a member of the Queenâs Guard is on duty, there are very few circumstances under which he would be able to leave his post â and using the bathroom is not one of them.
The Reddit user recalled one scenario when he was in a parade in front of a large crowd when one of this fellow guardsmen needed to ârelieve himselfâ.
â(He) couldnât hold it any longer. He was on the front row and left a huge obvious puddle where he was and some of the crowd noticed and started laughing.â
The dark colour and thick woollen material of their pants are an attempt to make it less obvious if an accident should occur.