Changing of the guard at the Royal Palace, Stockholm
An indispensable attribute of most monarchies, and not only monarchies, is an honor guard in full uniform at the building where the Supreme power of the state is located. In the old days, the Palace guard served as a security service, but now this work is performed by "soldiers of the invisible front", and the Palace guard in full dress uniforms is just a tribute to tradition. Special unit for the protection of The hegvakten Palace (Högvakten, " high guard") established the first king of independent Sweden, Gustav Vasa in 1523. Now the Stockholm regiment of Life Guard guards the Palace and other important state objects, they serve in regular military uniforms. The role of the guard of honor, standing at the entrances to the Palace in blue uniforms and gilded peaked helmets, is performed by ordinary military units of all branches of the Swedish army. Soldiers are engaged in a week of drill training and then take up guard duty. A week later, they are replaced by a team from another part. Thus, during the period of service, each soldier can visit the role of a Royal guardsman.
While we were walking around the Palace, it was time for the changing of the guard. The next shift leaves the west gate and follows the Guard commander through the outer courtyard.
On the square, the guardsmen begin to march. The main parade post is located on the side of the square, but not at all where the crowned heads arrive, but at the gate through which tourists enter the Palace.
We had a chance to observe an ordinary shift, at 8AM, from April to August at noon you can see a solemn performance. This is a real parade with a brass band, it involves about fifty guards, including horse.
The guard lasts for two hours, and the soldiers do not resemble statues at all, but stand relaxed or walk around the guard booths, smiling and posing for tourists.