Tower of London and the Ceremony of the Keys
The Tower of London is officially known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. It’s a historic, 900 year old castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.
The Tower of London is one of the most famous castles in the world and has served many purposes. It housed the royal mint, the crown jewels, prisoners, a menagerie, the “Line of Kings” armor collection, a records office, an armory and barracks for troops, and was used as a royal residence.
Every night, for the past 700 years, the lantern-lit Ceremony of Keys has taken place in the Tower of London to secure the Crown Jewels. It’s the oldest military ceremony in the world. The ceremony lasts 35 minutes and is performed by the Chief Yeoman Warder, the Yeoman Warder Watchman and members of the Tower of London Guards.
The only time this ceremony has been disrupted was during World War II.
On December 29, 1940, a bomb fell on the tower and one of the guards was blown off his feet during the ceremony. He arose from the ground and the ceremony continued, although a bit delayed.