The men you will see on guard at Buckingham Palace, (and other locations), are not just ceremonial guards but first and foremost professional infantry soldiers.
While upholding the traditions of the past, the guards also perform duties around the world as professional soldiers, who in their infantry role, have a reputation as some of the most elite and skilled soldiers in the British Army.
This is one of the reasons changes may occur, in the guard change ceremony schedule, when the guards are required for operational duties.
The Household Division comprise two regiments of the Household Cavalry, The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals plus five Regiments of Foot Guards:
Most of the time it is soldiers from one of these regiments that will be standing guard outside Buckingham Palace.
However, do not be surprised if on some occasions you do not see the traditional guardsmen, in their scarlet tunics, particularly in August when other regiments often guard 'The Queen'.
The responsibility of guarding the Sovereign by the Household Troops (as they were known at the time) dates back to the time of Henry VII (1485 - 1509).
As some of the best soldiers in the British Army guardsmen have fought in virtually every major area of conflict with great distinction since the 17th Century.
The guards do not just perform ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace, they also take an active role in protecting their Sovereign. At night they patrol the grounds of both Buckingham Palace and St. James's Palace.
At a glance all the Queens Guards have the same scarlet uniform, distinctive bearskin hat and gold buttons.
There are several differences which you can find on the page guards-regiments.
The 'Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace' guide book has even more information on the ceremony, and has some interesting stories and historical facts to amuse you while you are waiting for the guard change to begin.