Update 14 December: In line with government guidance, the Tower of London will be closed from 16 December.
Darren Hardy has become the 411th Yeoman Warder (more commonly known as Beefeater) to guard the Tower of London since records began in the 19th Century. Yeoman Warder Hardy takes on this iconic role after 23 years of distinguished service in the Band of the Coldstream Guards, performing in a variety of State Ceremonial occasions, including Changing of the Guard and Trooping the Colour.
Over the next few months, YW Hardy 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, including the Ceremony of the Keys, a closing ceremony that has taken place every night at the Tower of London without fail for at least 700 years.
A father of two, YW Hardy was born and raised in Swalwell, Tyne and Wear, and his family home is in Abridge, Essex. Before joining the Yeoman Body at the Tower of London, he was a Colour Sergeant based in the Household Division in London. As an accomplished flutist and Northumbrian Pipe player, he has performed all over the world with the Band of the Coldstream Guards, from Japan, to Australia and the United States.
YW Hardy is a self-confessed history enthusiast. Before joining the Yeoman Body, he was a regular volunteer at the Tower of London interacting and supporting visitors across a range of family activities, including historic object handling classes.
Yeoman Warder Hardy said:
“Being the 411th Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London fills me with an enormous amount of pride - I’m still in dreamland! It’s amazing to share this once in a lifetime experience with my wife Lorna and our two kids William and Jessica. When I enlisted in the Army as a young lad, if you’d told me in 23 years time I’d be living in a 1000-year-old fortress in the heart of London I would have laughed. As a history enthusiast, I can’t wait to tackle the responsibilities that come with this very special role.”
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.
Notes to Editors
For more information and images: please contact the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: [email protected] / 020 3166 6166
Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. 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 (with the exception of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens). Registered charity number 1068852. www.hrp.org.uk