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Info about the Royal Guard at the Royal Palace in the Old Town
We always recommend you to visit the Royal Guard Web Site (use Home Page button above) for up-to-date information about the coming changing of the Royal Guard. Normally the change takes place at 12:15 at Weekdays and Saturdays while it takes place at 13:15 on Sundays. The Changing of the Royal Guard takes approx. 40 minutes. When there is a special occasion such as the kings Birthday, State visits etc. there might be a change in the schedule.
The Royal Guard was instituted in the year 1525 by king Gustav Vasa. During the first hundreds of years they were not only the Kings Guard but also performed duties as fire brigade and police force.
A Guard soldier stands at this post for 1 hour then he/she has 2 hours off. This means that every hour every day there is the small Change of Guard when the guard soldiers are relieved by a new guard soldier. There is a small ceremony at the Royal Castle outer courtyard at these smaller changing of guards.
The Royal Guards posting at the Royal Castle
There are several types of Royal Guard soldiers. Besides the ordinary Swedish Army and Marine unites there is the Life Guard which at special occasions wears the uniforms of the Royal Dragoons, the Royal Grenadiers or the Carolinian Guard.
The Royal Dragoons
The Royal Dragoons at the Life Guard, also known as the Mounted Royal Guard, starts at the Cavalry depot at Lidingövägen and rides through the City Centre of Stockholm all the way to the Royal Castle and the outer courtyard. They are accompanied by the Royal Dragoon music band. The Royal Dragoons has a history back to the 17:th century and has performed as the Mounted Royal Guard since 1906. They are only to be seen during the period mid-April to mid-August and at special occasions.
The Royal Dragoons has got their names after the rifles (carbines) that the French Dragoons used in the 17:th century. The rifles (carbines) had ornamented dragons heads at the pistons. The Dragoons did ride to the battlefield but fight as ordinary soldiers. In today's army they are known as the mechanised infantry.
The Royal Grenadiers
The Royal Grenadiers at the Life Guard are only use at State visits or other special occasions. They are recognized by their hats made of bear skin (Busby). The hats was introduced in the 19:th century by king Karl XIV Johan.
The Royal Grenadiers where from the start an ordinary soldier tasked with throwing hand grenades, and from there comes the name - Grenadiers. Later the name Grenadiers was given to military units of high standard and the very first grenadier unit was actually formed by the Swedish general Lars Kagg in 1634. in today's army the Grenadiers are known as armoured soldiers.
The Carolinian Guard
The Carolinian Guard (Drabanter) is a genuine Swedish military unit that has only existed in Sweden. The origin comes from the guard soldiers instituted by King Gustav Vasa in the 16:th century as his personal body guard.
The today's Carolinian Guard wear's the uniform of either King Karl XI (harness and yellow coat) or King Karl XII (no harness and blue coat). The use high pulling of the knees when they march and can only be seen from mid-April to mid-August and at very special occasions such as the opening of the Parliament.
When they are used for a State visit by a Head of State they wear the uniform of King Karl XI when the Head of State arrives to Sweden and the uniform of King Karl XII when the head of State leaves Sweden.
The Carolinian Guard is today the foremost Swedish honorary Guard and only used at very special occasions. If you happen to see them don't forget to take a picture because it's a rare event.