Press release

23 March 2016

Lawrence Watts becomes the newest Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, taking up the unique role after 23 years of distinguished service in the Army.

Over the next few months he 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 day, such as answering historical questions, helping visitors and having their photograph taken. He will take part in various traditional ceremonies such as the Ceremony of the Keys, which has been conducted each night without fail for at least 700 years.

YW Watts joins 36 Yeoman Warders who live at the Tower of London with their families. The Yeoman Warders are descended from the ancient band of warders who guarded the gates and royal prisoners, early in the Tower’s history. Modern Yeoman Warders are still Extraordinary Members of the Queen’s Bodyguard. They 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 to make the past come to life for visitors.

YW Watts, 41, was born in Lewisham in Southeast London and grew up in Basingstoke. Before joining the Tower of London, he served with the Royal Corp of Signals in Northern Ireland, Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the army he worked in security before joining the Tower of London. Outside of work YW Watts enjoys formation sky diving, boxing and mixed martial arts and is a keen photographer.

Yeoman Warder Watts said: “I’ve always been fascinated with history, in particular military history. In my first week at the Tower of London I’d already learnt a thousand things I didn’t know before! Now I’ve got the mammoth task of learning over 900 years of the history of the Tower. Very few people have a chance to be a part of living history so becoming a Yeoman Warder really is a dream job.”

Notes for editors

Notes to editors

For further information and images, please contact the Historic Royal Palaces press office on 020 3166 6340 or email pauline.stobbs@hrp.org.uk

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