Royal guards withdrawn from contact with public following Isis terror threat 'chatter' online

Sentry posts move behind railings, while armed police now guard the soldiers on display at Horse Guards Parade

Adam Withnall
Sunday 28 December 2014 14:35 GMT
FILE: Members of the Queen's Guard perform the 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony at Buckingham Palace on April 8, 2011
FILE: Members of the Queen's Guard perform the 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony at Buckingham Palace on April 8, 2011 (Getty Images)

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The royal guards have been withdrawn from public streets outside key British landmarks following online “chatter” threatening an imminent terror attack, it has been reported.

The movement of various stations for the Queen’s Guard was observed around the beginning of November, according to a news and blogging website which reports on the royal family.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, police counter-terrorism adviser Sally Leivesley said that a Lee Rigby-style attack on a member of the Queen’s Guard would be “a hugely powerful signal”.

“As a target it is incredibly significant for these groups to kill a British soldier in their home country,” she said.

Two guard posts at Clarence House, the official residence of the Prince of Wales, have been moved from the entrance at Stable Yard Road to the front of the House gardens, beyond the gate.

Tourist pictures posted to Instagram showed the sentries in their new positions at a safe distance

A photo posted by @marcio_tassinari on

Posts at St James’s Palace have shifted from the front gates to a courtyard within the palace, only visible to tourists at a distance.

The measures follow the murder of Fusilier Rigby and the Ottawa shootings in October, which claimed the life of Canadian soldier Corporal Nathan Cirillo while he was on ceremonial sentry duty.

A spokesperson for Clarence House said that it would not be commenting on issues regarding the security of the royal family.

But the Mirror quoted a senior security source as saying the guards had been moved following an “acute”, specific threat.

“Intelligence picked up (internet) chatter which is being taken seriously,” the source said. “Isis know it would be very difficult to attack a member of the Royal family, but one of the Queen’s Guard would be a huge target for them.”

Troops at Horse Guards Parade continue to stage a ceremonial sentry, the Mail on Sunday reported, but with an extensive armed guard of their own.

Four Metropolitan Police officers armed with rifles and pistols watch over the tourist attraction. One told the newspaper: “Yes, we are a recent addition here. It’s us guarding the Guards. I think there’s a Latin phrase for that.”

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