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Royal Marines (Buckingham Palace Guard)

Volume 932: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will arrange for the Royal Marines to mount guard at Buckingham Palace from time to time in the same way as the RAF at present do, so that all three Services may share the honour.

May we have an indication of when the next time is likely to be, since the last time the Marines mounted guard was at the Jubilee in 1935? Is it not high time that the Senior Service took its turn with the other two?

Yes it is, but I hope that the hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that the Royal Marines are a small corps and that they have a heavy operational, training and other commitment. The earliest such opportunity that can be envisaged is May 1979.

Is the Minister aware that the Royal Marines have been drastically cut by the Government and that they are all on operations or operational training, so that there is no one left to maintain these ceremonial duties?

Not quite. The hon. Gentleman knows that the Royal Marines are necessarily a small corps—

that in any event they enjoy close links with their Sovereign, and that they have many other ways in which they can serve her.