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Britain’s famous Beefeaters are facing the chop as tourism slumps


It seems that perhaps no job on Earth is safe from the economic damage being done by the coronavirus.

The virus is no respecter of age, gender or social status. And neither does it care about pomp, ceremony or a tradition dating back to 1485.

Britain’s famous Beefeaters, the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London where the Royal Family’s priceless crown jewels are kept and where three queens were once beheaded, may themselves be in for the chop.

Royal palaces struggling financially as tourists stay home

So severe has the tourism downturn been across Britain that the charity that employs them, Historic Royal Palaces, is facing a cash shortfall this year of a whopping 98-million pounds. That’s an eye-watering R2-billion in lost revenue.

The charity is normally reasonably cash-flush because of the large number of paying visitors who visit the Tower of London and similar attractions. But this year they’ve stayed home because of the pandemic.

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Consequently the Beefeaters, more properly named Yeomen Warders, are among the staff at six palaces in London and Northern Ireland threatened with redundancy.

Two Beefeaters have already left and more may follow

At least two of the famous Beefeaters have already taken voluntary redundancy and more from the total staff complement of 37 may also need to go.

Yeomen Warders, who can be male or female, are all retired members of Britain’s armed forces and must have served with distinction for at least 22 years in the military.

Job security dating back to the time of King Henry VII

Although there original role was to be royal bodyguards to the monarch of the time and to protect the Tower and its contents, these days their role is ceremonial and they are beloved by millions of tourists.

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Job security has always been a feature of the Beefeaters’ position.

According to the Guardian newspaper, this is thought to be the first time since King Henry VII established the force in 1485 that the Yeoman Warders face the threat of compulsory redundancy.

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