Why do the Queen's royal guards faint?

It's not uncommon to see a member of the Queen's guards lose consciousness

A policeman has collapsed outside Westminster Abbey, with photographs showing the officer being carried away on a stretcher just before the Queen's state funeral on Monday. It comes just after the BBC was forced to suspend a live broadcast of Queen Elizabeth II's lying in state at Westminster Hall last Wednesday after one of the royal guards protecting Her Majesty's coffin suddenly collapsed.

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The guard was standing at the foot of the late monarch's casket when he lost consciousness. Footage of the guard's sudden collapse, which happened around 1am, quickly circulated on social media. Viewers were left increasingly concerned for the Queen's guard, who was immediately attended to by nearby officials before the livestream was suspended.

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WATCH: Queen's guard faints as he guards Her Majesty's coffin at Westminster Hall

"Poor thing, I hope he's not hurt. That was a nasty fall," a TikTok user expressed their concern, as another wrote: "It must be overwhelming. This is one of the biggest events in the world."

"I hope he's alright," added another. "It must be so tough to stay like that for a long time."

A policeman was carried away on a stretcher before the Queen's funeral

LOOK: Member of the royal family appears to faint as the Queen's coffin enters Westminster Hall

Why do royal guards faint?

Soldiers in ceremonial uniform are maintaining a constant, 24-hour vigil around the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall. While the soldiers rotate position every 20 minutes, they are permitted to stand completely still around the four corners of the coffin for six hours a shift.

The royal guards are prone to fainting when ordered to stand for long shifts

Surprisingly, fainting is not an uncommon occurrence for the Queen's guards, particularly at large scale events like Trooping the Colour which require them to stand still for extended periods of time.

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In fact, the soldiers are even taught to "faint to attention", says Major Dai Bevan, who led the 101-strong Guard of Honour from the Welsh Guards at the Prince and Princess of Wales' wedding.

Soldiers are taught to avoid toppling sideways or clinging to nearby infrastructure for support. According to The Express, true discipline is displayed by those soldiers who can topple forward face first while still holding their bayonet-tipped rifles.

A royal guard collapsed at Trooping the Colour in 2016

"It will probably involve a broken nose and a whole lot of missing teeth," adds Major Dai Bevan.

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, the Queen's guardsmen have fought in virtually every major area of conflict with great distinction since the 17th Century. They require impeccable discipline and years of training to become one of the royal guardsmen.

The Queen's guards are taught to "faint to attention"

It may look easy, but standing perfectly still for elongated periods of time can put immense strain on the body and mind, causing exhaustion, muscle strain, lower back pain and swelling of the feet.

Not to mention the weight of their uniform, environmental conditions and pressure to fulfil their duties.

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