You are at the top of the page

Skip to content or footer

Start of main content

Yeoman Warder uniforms to change ahead of Coronation of King Charles III

24 April 2023

To mark the change in Monarch, the Tower of London’s Yeoman Warders – known globally as ‘Beefeaters’ – will see a change to their iconic uniform ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III.

Since the Yeoman Body was created in 1485 by King Henry VII, the uniforms worn have evolved through the centuries. It was Queen Elizabeth I who first decided to have the Sovereign’s initials embroidered on the State Dress from 1570. The uniform today’s Yeoman Warders wear daily (known as ‘Blue Undress’) continues that tradition, and features a large royal crown in red, below which is the insignia of the reigning monarch.

This will now be changed to feature a ‘CIIIR’ in recognition of King Charles III as the new monarch. From Monday 24 April, visitors will be able to see history being made as the new uniforms are unveiled, just ahead of the Coronation on 6 May.

There are two uniforms for the Yeoman Body. State Dress is worn for ceremonial occasions; for example, when the Monarch visits the Tower or for any State occasion that the Body attends. It is predominantly scarlet and gold with red stockings, white ruff and black, buckled shoes. On a normal day, the Yeoman Warders wear a blue uniform, of different weights for summer and winter; this is the uniform that visitors will see in use day-to-day at the Tower.

The Yeoman Warder Blue Undress uniforms have been made by the skilled workers of Kashket & Partners, specialist designers and suppliers of ceremonial, parade, corporate and formal wear. Their dedicated team of over 40 bespoke tailors and skilled artisans have made uniforms for many members of many royal families. As part of the process, each of the Yeoman Warders was measured up at the Tower, before shell fittings (uniform outlines) were created and production began, with the crown and CIIIR cypher being added last. Each new Blue Undress uniform takes a minimum of 30 hours to complete, with the jacket’s weight ranging from 2.3kg to 3kg.

The new uniforms are part of a series of changes that Historic Royal Palaces – the charity that cares for the Tower of London - are currently making at the site. These also include the renaming of The King’s House (formerly known as Queen’s House), and the addition of the new royal Cypher at the entrance to the Jewel House, as well as on sentry boxes across the site. A selection of the previous uniforms featuring the former ‘EIIR’ cypher will now be kept in the Historic Royal Palaces’ archives and preserved for generations to come.

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.

From 26 May, visitors to the Tower of London will be able to experience the new Crown Jewels exhibition. Leading towards the Treasury where most of the Crown Jewels are kept, the new exhibition will explore the origins of some of the objects for the first time, including the destruction of the original jewels under Oliver Cromwell. The display will evoke the spectacle and pageantry of the Coronation procession and Service.

Yeoman Warder facts

  • As of April 2023, there are currently 35 Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London.
  • No one is exactly sure where the nickname ‘Beefeater’ comes from. The most likely explanation is that Yeoman Warders were given a daily ration of meat for their duties. Records show that even in 1813 the daily ration for the thirty men on duty was 24lbs of beef, 18lbs mutton and 16lbs of veal!
  • To qualify for the role of Yeoman Warder of His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London (the full job title), applicants must have served at least 22 years in the Armed Forces, hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal, and have reached the rank of Warrant Officer or equivalent, before being invited for interview and a rigorous selection process.

Notes to editors

For further information and images please contact Jon Hornbuckle in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office via [email protected] / 020 3166 6166

Tickets: Adults: £33.60 / Children: £16.80 / Concessions: £26.80 / Members go free.

Historic Royal Palaces is a team of people who love and look after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world. We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted. We tell stories about the monarchs you know and the lives you don’t. We let people explore and we set minds racing. We are a charity and your support gives the palaces a future, for everyone.

Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk

BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London

The ‘Beefeaters’ have been guarding the Tower since Tudor times

Coronations Past and Present

An ancient ceremony, largely unchanged for a thousand years

The story of the Tower of London

Iconic fortress, royal palace and infamous prison