From tomorrow until next spring, the ceremony will be held every other day, instead of daily, which has been the summer routine.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman admitted that the move, sanctioned by the Queen, was the result of Army commitments abroad. However, the decision is bound to lend weight to warnings from the military, the Commons Defence Select Committee and Tory backbenchers that Army cuts have gone too far.
Dr David Clark, Labour defence spokesman, said: 'It is ridiculous when there are thousands of tourists in London. It is sheer madness and the Ministry of Defence must come clean because either they don't have enough infantry or it is gross mismanagement.'
The MoD said the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, due to appear at the Royal Tournament later this month, was called for training. A standby regiment was needed to replace them at the tournament and the King's Regiment, earmarked for the Changing of the Guard ceremony, was the only one available at short notice.
'These short-notice changes are not uncommon,' the spokesman said.
Details of the Changing of the Guard are given daily on the Gazette page of the Independent. Today, see page 28Reuse content