King’s Royal Hussar to take up the Tudor ruffle
Dorset based John Donald takes up the iconic role of Yeoman Warder (more commonly known as a ‘Beefeater’) after 23 years of distinguished service in the army.
YW Donald will leave Dorchester to take up residence in the Tower of London with 36 other Yeoman Warders and their families. Since leaving the army in 2008 he has run the Combined Cadet force in local state school Budmouth College in Weymouth, supervising 180 cadets and 15 adult volunteers.
Married to wife Kim for 24 years and a father of two grown-up sons, YW Donald left his hometown of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire in 1985 to join the army and served for over 20 years with the King’s Royal Hussars. He was stationed in Germany, Canada, Northern Ireland and Iraq before settling back in the UK.
Yeoman Warder Donald said:
'I am so proud to be part of this great tradition and the long history of our nation. I’m looking forward to learning more about the history of the Tower and standing up on the block for the first time to give the famous Yeoman Warder tour. Eventually I hope to be knowledgeable enough to field any tricky questions that come my way! It was a big decision to leave my life in Dorset and the Combined Cadet Force, but to be a Yeoman Warder is such an iconic role and to be part of the Tower’s history is such a great opportunity. It’s my first time living in London and I am enjoying the diversity of the city and all the entertainment that London has to offer.'
Over the next few months, Yeoman Warder Donald will learn word-for-word the Story - the script of the famous Yeoman Warder Tour - before being allowed to lead a Tour himself. He will also become familiar with each of the 21 separate duties that the Yeoman Warders conduct each and every day.
YW Donald joins the close knit community of Yeoman Warders at the Tower. The Yeoman Warders are descended from the ancient band of warders whom, from early in the Tower’s history, had the responsibility for guarding the gates and royal prisoners. Modern Yeoman Warders are still Extraordinary Members of the Queen’s Bodyguard and are all former warrant officers from Her Majesty’s Forces with an honourable service record of at least 22 years. Today they combine their traditional ceremonial role with a love of history and a way with words to make the past come to life for visitors – a noble tradition which John Donald is eager to become a part of.
Notes to Editors
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Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk