It’s business as usual for the Household Cavalry on Christmas Day — after all, someone has to guard The Queen.

Corporal of the Horse, Warren Mount, will be on duty at London’s Knightsbridge Barracks

“We get up early as usual and muck out the horses, who have the day off. The regimental hierarchy serve the soldiers ‘gunfire’, a noxious mix of coffee and whisky that’s not for the faint-hearted. We also tuck into mince pies and chocolates, kindly donated by local businesses, one of which just happens to be Harrods.

“The soldiers then sort out the horses as quickly as possible before being dismissed for their family celebrations at midday. The 12 horses and riders on duty for the Queen’s Life Guard have drawn the short straw and are confined to their Horseguards’ Parade base until 11am on Boxing Day.

“They start the morning with a fancy dress parade where the commanding officer awards the least monotonous duties to those who have made the most effort. Costumes in the past have included the Phantom of the Opera, the annual favourite, Ninja Turtles, and a Santa-clad trooper once transformed his horse into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

“The troopers change into state uniforms before taking up their positions, with the mounted guards rotating in one-hour shifts.

“Between shifts the soldiers are served a Christmas meal. We try to give the boys on Queen’s Life Guard as good a time as possible in the circumstances.”

This information was first published in Horse & Hound (8 November, ’07)