The Royal Guards are responsible, in co-operation with the police and palace authorities, for guarding the Royal Palace of Stockholm and Drottningholm Palace. The Royal Guards are also part of the defence force of the centre of Stockholm. When guard duties are required, the Royal Guards also act as an honorary guard to King Carl XVI Gustav. All soldiers in the Royal Guards are therefore specially trained in protection duties.
The Royal Guards also act as honorary guard at state ceremonies, ministry of defence official visits, visits by foreign military senior commanders and foreign naval visits.
The Royal Guards and the Parade of Guards are amongst the most popular visitor attractions in Stockholm. An estimated 800,000 people visit the outer palace courtyard each year to watch ceremonies such as the Changing of the Guard and other state occasions – a number that continues to rise.
Changing of the Guard takes place every day of the year. However, the ceremonial march through central Stockholm, accompanied by a full military band, is usually only possible from May to August.
The Royal Guards have been protecting the Royal Palace in Stockholm since 1523. Until the mid 19th century, the Royal Guards comprised of between 100 and 200 men from guard units, who also maintained law and order in the city, as well as providing fire-fighting services. Today, around 50 to 60 soldiers serve in the Royal Guards, approximately 35 at Stockholm Royal Palace, and 25 at Drottningholm.