Tower of London’s longest-serving head beefeater gets CBE

The top beefeater at the Tower of London has been awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, announced today at one minute past midnight.

John Keohane is the longest serving Chief Yeoman Warder since 1947.

He joined The Tower as a beefeater in 1991, after leaving the Royal Corps of Signals, and was promoted in 2004 to Chief Yeoman Warder—the most senior member of the Sovereign’s Bodyguard.

His daily role includes the nightly ‘Ceremony of the Keys’ where he locks the outer gates, with an escort of four soldiers, at precisely 10pm. This ceremony has been carried every night of the year for more than 700 years.

John enlisted in the Army in 1964 and served in Singapore, Oman, the Falklands and West Germany. He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1985 and the Long Service and Good Conduct medals in 1984.


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John lives at The Tower with his wife Ruth. They have two children and six grandchildren. His hobbies include Heritage steam railways among others.

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