A Queen’s Guard pointed his rifle at a member of the public outside Buckingham Palace on Friday with the bayonet fixture raised within a foot of the man’s face.
The soldier moved around 50 yards from his post intervene after the man spent five minutes shouting at a police officer outside the palace gates.
Photographic evidence of the incident appeared on the front page of today’s The Sun on Sunday, showing the guard pointing his rifle at the man while stood next to a police officer.
Tourist Gareth Scanlan told the newspaper: “There was a lot of shouting before the guard went in with the bayonet - it was shocking.
“The man said: “Oh you’re a big boy now”. And the guard - who was Scottish judging by his accent - said: “Yes I am a big boy”. Then the guard pushed the guy away.”
The man was apparently trying to get closer or inside, witnesses said.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Police were made aware of a disturbance at the North-Centre Gate of Buckingham Palace at approximately 5.50pm on Friday, April 4.
“Officers from Royalty Protection spoke to a man and he was given words of advice and there were no arrests.”
The Queen's Guardsman is not believed to be facing any action over the incident.
An Army spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident outside Buckingham Palace on Friday and while no one came to any harm and there were no arrests, we are very clear that the Metropolitan Police lead on Royal Security arrangements including outside the Palace itself.”
Although the Queen's Guard carry a largely ceremonial role, they are made up of rotated contingents of active soldiers charged with guarding the Palace and members of the royal family.
As well as carrying out sentry duty, they also patrol the Palace grounds at night. Many would have recently completed tours in Iraq or Afghanistan.