After waking up early, and waiting an hour & a half sardine packed at London’s Buckingham Palace (see part 1), the events of the Changing of the Guard started just before 11:30 AM.

The guards arrived by passing Victoria Monument, directly in front of Buckingham Palace, and then entering through the ornate front gates of the palace.

This was harder to see when my face was pushed up against the front gates, but I waited too long for this prime location to risk losing my spot. I wasn’t budging.

Dozens of guards, with stern expressions on their face, marched into the gates doors. Not a smile in the bunch.

Being that these guards are actual serving soldiers of the British Army, they meant business. You have to respect them as they are known to be some of the most elite and skilled.

“The Queen’s Guard” is the guard who mounts at Buckingham Palace.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the heck he was thinking about for hours on end while he was on watch. Maybe he fretting about an upcoming rugby game? Or going over his list of groceries needed for this evenings dinner?

Any of the five regiments of the British Army may be present at the changing and are identified by the plume on there bearskin cap, grouping of buttons on their tunic and color badge.

This is a Welsh guardsman, which is known by the green and white plume worn on the left side of his bearskin cap.

The bearskin is generally 18″ tall and 1.5 pounds. I would have easily guessed over 5 pounds.

The band arrived and set up just to the left of the gates doors, this is the position I would opt for next time. The crowd was silent as we waited to see what was in their musical repertoire.

The band started their set with Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’. Completely unexpected and just plain awesome.

They followed this up with Mack the Knife by Frank Sinatra. An oldie, but goodie.

It was at this time that we decided to leave our front row standing position a tad early, in order to avoid the exiting crowds, and head across the street towards the London Underground.

Luckily, we were stopped by the crossing-the-street guard. And because of this we had the best view of the guards exiting Buckingham Palace…

…and I got my absolute favorite shot at the changing of the guard, the one of the Irish guard escorting his dog.

Once we were able to safely cross the road, we walked towards St. James Palace on our way to catch the tube and got a second show.

Standing guard on Stable Yard Road was one Irish guardsmen. Perfect for photo opportunities.

Still no smile. Not even a smirk.

As we left the solo guard, we walked one block up to Marlborough Road and were struck by our third show, the band was marching, returning back to their headquarters.

We got lucky and picked the right route.

One day, three shows and a bucket list check for free. That’s a good day.

Would you go to see the Changing of the Guard?