Unseen photo shows exhausted beefeaters guarding Queen’s coffin taking a break

The Royal guards who stand by Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin have been pictured taking a well-earned rest.

The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, nicknamed the ‘beefeaters’, stand guard over the deceased monarch.

One photo show the loyal guards taking a break behind the scenes of Westminster Hall on Sunday as they rotate every 20 minutes over a six-hour shift.

The Queen is lying in state on the catafalque at Westminster Hall ahead of Monday’s funeral.

Three ceremonial units surround Her Majesty as she lies in state, with units watching over her on a 24-hour schedule.

The Yeomen of the Guard, pictured at rest, stand over her as well as the Gentlemen at Arms and the Royal Company of Archers.

‘They’re doing such a great job. Hat’s off to them,’ said one Twitter user.

‘I thank them all for their service,’ said another.

Yeoman Warders have been guarding the Tower of London since Tudor times, with members of their ranks drawn from all three branches of the military.

The group was originally part of Henry VIII’s personal bodyguard, traveling with the monarch for his protection.

The Yeoman Body of 37 men and women are all drawn from the Armed Forces.

Salaries for the posts start at £30,000 a year, and the job even comes with a flat — with many warders expected to live within the Tower with their families.

But the guard are required to have served 22 years in the army first, with applicants also expected to hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

The guards typically work 37 hours a week, often over the weekend, as well as overtime and some night shifts.

Annual leave is 23 days a year, rising to 25.5 upon completion of three years of employment and 26.5 days after completing ten years’ service.

One guard, a member of the Royal Company of Archers, was recorded falling to the ground having passed out from exhaustion while standing over the Queen’s coffin on Wednesday.

The man had moments earlier briefly stepped off the podium before retaking his place as other servicemen joined him for a changeover.

But seconds later he blacked out and fell forwards, landing sprawled on the stone floor to loud gasps from bystanders queueing to pay their respects.

The live stream also cut out for several minutes as police rushed to the man’s aid.

He reportedly recovered shortly afterwards, as thousands of mourners joined the queue to pay their final respects to the monarch following her death at Balmoral last Thursday.

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