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It's no Hardy pipe dream guarding the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:27 17 October 2019

Yeoman Warder Darren Hardy... new recruit to Beefeaters' ranks at The Tower. Picture: David Jensen

Yeoman Warder Darren Hardy... new recruit to Beefeaters' ranks at The Tower. Picture: David Jensen

© DavidJensen 2019

A Northumberland piper is the new boy on the block to guard the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels.

Parade ground where Beefeaters in scarlet and gold State Dress took part in ceremony when General Sir Nicholas Houghton was installed as 160th Constable of The Tower in October 2016. Picture: David JensenParade ground where Beefeaters in scarlet and gold State Dress took part in ceremony when General Sir Nicholas Houghton was installed as 160th Constable of The Tower in October 2016. Picture: David Jensen

Beefeater Darren Hardy, a Coldstream Guardsman from Tyneside, is the 411th Yeoman Warder since records began.

The father-of-two takes on the iconic jewel of a role, traditionally known as beefeaters, after 23 years in the Band of the Coldstream Guards as a flutist and pipe player who performed at Changing the Guard and Trooping the Colour.

"I'm still in dreamland," Darren admits. "I would have laughed if you had told me when I enlisted in the Army as a young lad that in 23 years time I'd be living in a 1,000-year-old royal palace in London."

But it's no pipe dream for the Colour Sergeant piper, a self-confessed history lover. He has to learn the centuries-old story of The Tower word-for-word over the next few months, following the script to make the past come to life for tourists before being let lose to lead a tour himself.

Lighter duties beefeaters like Darren Hardy may have to undertake... such as escorting schoolchildren on their annual 'beating the bounds' ceremony as these Central Foundation pupils did in 2014. Picture: Royal PalacesLighter duties beefeaters like Darren Hardy may have to undertake... such as escorting schoolchildren on their annual 'beating the bounds' ceremony as these Central Foundation pupils did in 2014. Picture: Royal Palaces

Darren also has to be familiar with 21 daily duties, including the famous Ceremony of the Keys that has taken place for at least 700 years.

Beefeaters are descended from the ancient band of warders who guarded the gates and royal prisoners early in The Tower's history. Modern Yeoman Warders are members of the Queen's Bodyguard who are all former warrant officers from the Armed Forces with an honourable service record of at least 22 years.

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