On Friday, October 11, the Queen’s Guard ate breakfast at Southern Nazarene University (SNU) in preparation for their journey to Texas. There, they will attend the Red River Rivalry football game between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma Sooners.
The Queen’s Guard, also known as the British Army First Regiment of Foot Guards, are the famous guards posted in front of Buckingham Palace in London, England. As the second oldest organization of the British military, the Queen’s Guard, the men who visited being known as “Grenadier Guards,” is a crucial part of both Britain’s military history as well as world history– they have fought in nearly every war since 1656.
Famous for their lack of smiles and reactions when on guard at the palace, this time at SNU showed a different side of the Grenadiers, laughing and smiling over good conversation and breakfast.
Bart Ermeling, Director of the Vets Center at SNU, discussed how the Queen’s Guard ended up at SNU, saying, “It was completely out of the blue… I got an email from Captain Chopp, the Recruiting Company Commander. He said, ‘The Queen’s Guard is coming… to spend the day at OU… they’re leaving on Friday morning. Would you mind hosting a breakfast for them?’ Of course, I immediately jumped on it.
Not only were the Queen’s Guard in attendance at SNU, but Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt was also at the breakfast joining the Queen’s Guard, welcoming them to our city and state. At the breakfast, Governor Stitt talked about the importance of alliance and brotherhood, both in terms of football and within the global military sphere. He ended his speech with a simple gesture of warm hospitality: “Welcome, and come back soon.”
Ermeling then gave a speech discussing his own experience in the military, interacting with the British military during his time deployed. He spoke of camaraderie, brotherhood and friendship throughout this time, emphasizing the immense respect he has for the Queen’s Guard.
Not only are the Queen’s Guard expected to fulfill their ceremonial duties, but they are also required to fulfill their military duties: they stand guard in red tunics and bearskin hats in front of Buckingham Palace or St. James Palace as well as participate in active combat. Currently, the Grenadiers are on a tour of the United States simply to create tangible connections globally, stopping at universities throughout the country.
The theme for today’s breakfast seemed to be “connection”: on a global scale, the United States and Great Britain have held an alliance for centuries, and on a local scale, SNU now has been the hands and feet of that connection at an interpersonal level. SNU may not have been the final destination for the Queen’s Guard, but they were welcomed to “Our House” with a warm celebration of sharing stories and communing together before their journey to Texas.
(Photos courtesy of Emma Wright and Bart Ermeling)