NEWS COMMENT: A respectful salute to the new guards at the palace

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Many might be surprised that in its long and proud history the senior service, the Royal Navy, has never before enjoyed the ceremonial role of guarding the monarch.

The job has traditionally fallen to the Army, but later this month men and women of the Royal Navy will take on ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace.

As well as conducting ceremonial duties at the palace and at St James’s Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London, the Royal Navy squad will be the frontline defence for the Royal family during a terror attack.

They will also be guarding the crown jewels at the Tower of London.

They have been hard at work on Whale Island in Portsmouth, honing their marching skills under the watchful eye of Warrant Officer Eddie Wearing, the navy’s top drill instructor.

He is rightfully proud that the Royal Navy will now be performing ceremonial duties in the capital, and will be seen by the millions of visitors from around the world who love to visit London’s royal landmarks.

The 42-year-old Gosport-based sailor said: ‘This is a wish come true. Since I have been in the job two years I have been wanting to conduct public duties.

‘To be the conducting Warrant Officer for the first mount ever in the Royal Navy is a massive privilege and an honour to do. So I’m really looking forward to it.’

It is yet another reason for the people of Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy, to swell with pride at the role it plays on the world stage.

And if you happen to be visiting London any time soon, be sure to give the new royal guards a respectful salute.