The iconic Beefeaters of the Tower of London have received their new uniforms, featuring the cypher of the new King.
Previously showing ‘EIIR’ for Elizabeth II, the Yeomen Warders have had new tunics made to align with the current Head of State.
The Yeoman Body was created in 1485 by Henry VII, after his victory at the Battle of Bosworth, as his own personal guard. But it was Elizabeth I who chose to have the Sovereign’s initials embroidered on the State Dress in 1570.
Today their role is still that of security – guarding the Crown Jewels and looking after any prisoners in the Tower, as well as looking after the famous ravens.
Since the 19th century, they have also conducted guided tours of the fortress.
Beefeaters have two uniforms: their daily ‘Blues undress’, which tourists see them in most frequently, but they also have a ceremonial uniform, of red tunics with the white ruff, for important occasions, such as when the Monarch visits the Tower, or for any State occasion that the Body attends.
Both will now bear CIIIR, for King Charles III, having had new items made by Kashket & Partners, specialist designers and suppliers of ceremonial, parade, corporate and formal wear.
Taking 30 hours+ to complete per uniform, the tailors add the cypher last, completing over sets for the 35 Yeomen Warders, many of whom live at the Tower. There are currently two female warders amongst the body.
Each warder has to have completed at least 22 years of service in the Armed Forces, earned the Long Service and Good Conduct medals, and have reached the rank of Warrant Officer or equivalent. They swear an oath of royal allegiance said to date back to 1337 when joining.
The uniforms follow in the wake of the cypher being updated on the Jewel House at the Tower, which is home to the Crown Jewels, including St Edward’s Crown, the Imperial State Crown, and the Orb and Sceptre, as well as the as well as the Tower’s sentry boxes.
Pete McGowran, Chief Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to unveil these new uniforms in the week preceding the Coronation, continuing the Yeoman Body’s proud and long-standing association with the Monarchy. It will be an honour and a proud moment for us all to wear them in this very special week.’