Canada Makes History as Van Doos Takes Guard at Buckingham Palace after 70 Years

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Canada made history after the Royal 22e Regiment at the Buckingham Palace on Monday, July 14.

About 70 members from the Van Doos aka the Ceremonial Guard of the Royal 22e Regiment participated in the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside the Buckingham Palace. This is the first time in the last 70 years that the Van Doos took part in the ceremony. It is scheduled to mount the guard at St. James's Palace on July 16 and at the Tower of London on the 18th of the month.

The Department of National Defence in Canada issued a formal statement on the rare feat. "It was a first for the King's Guard Sentinels to receive commands, not only from a non-British unit, but also in French," the statement said. The Van Doos held guards outside the Buckingham Palace in 1940 when King George VI, who was the Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment, made a request. That one-week guard was the last time the Van Doos was involved in such ceremony.

Around 12,000 spectators witnessed Canada's achievement as the regiment was honoured on their 100th anniversary. According to Maj.-Gen. (retired) Alain Forand, it was an honour for the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Army as well. The present Colonel-in-Chief, Queen Elizabeth II, personally interacted with the Canadian soldiers for an hour on the previous day. She apparently spoke in French with them.

The Van Doos happens to be the largest regimen of the Canadian Army. It has a couple of primary reserve battalions, three regular force battalions and a band. It took part in the World Wars I and II. It served in Korea. Additionally, it was a part of Canadian missions in collaboration with the United Nations.

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson issued a statement to congratulate the regiment. "I would like to extend my congratulations to all members of the Royal 22e Régiment past and present on this great occasion. This commemorative event honours the bravery, dedication, and professionalism of 100 years of the Royal 22e Régiment," his statement said.

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