They're changing the guards at St James's Palace with an all-female watch

Last updated at 13:07 09 January 2008

Woman guard

The Royal Family's guard really is changing.

As Britain's frontline regiments are busy with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, women are being called up to guard London's palaces.

Here, pictured for the first time, are female guards on sentry duty outside St James's Palace.

The officers, from the Queen's Royal Lancers, are part of the changing face of royal residences, which traditionally have men at the gates.

The women marched in front of St James's - the senior palace of the sovereign - before standing stock-still in their boxes.

Last year female members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery were the first women to guard Windsor Castle in its history.

Female officers have been sporadically guarding Buckingham Palace for at least a year.

An Army spokesman said: "We don't separate women by gender as guards, but note that we are busy militarily at the moment, so more women may be seen on guard duty."

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Women guards