The Yeomen Warders

The Yeomen Warders (21)

The Yeomen Warders, more commonly known as the “Beefeaters”, are the body of the Royal Guard entrusted to guard the Tower of London. The creation of this military unit dates back to the 15th century, during the reign of Edward IV, and their nickname could refer to the generous rations of meat that they received as part of their salary.

Although today their work is mainly as guides and they have a symbolic nature, officially this detachment of 36 soldiers dedicates its work to safeguarding the integrity of the Crown Jewels. 

Their sentry work is symbolised by the Ceremony of the Keys, during which each night, at about ten o’clock, they close the main doors of the precinct in a formal way.

One of the Yeomen Warders has the post of Ravenmaster, the person responsible for taking care of the ravens of the Tower of London. Among their duties features feeding the birds, whose diet is basically made up of raw meat.

This group of guards is very well known for their Tudor red and white uniform with golden adornments. This uniform, similar to that of the Yeomen of the Guard, is reserved for special occasions, such as the visit of the Queen to the Tower or the coronation of a monarch. In this latter case they are armed with a halberd.

 This is why you will probably see the Yeomen Warders with their regular uniform. This uniform is navy blue with red trimmings and was designed in the 19th century.

Aspirants who wish to join this body must have served in the armed forces for at least 22 years and their service record must be impeccable. If they pass the selection process, they must live in special lodgings within the precinct of the Tower of London.

The summer of 2007 marked a turning point for this military detachment, since for the first time in 500 years, a woman, the Scot Moira Cameron, was accepted to form part of it.

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