The role of the Istana Ceremonial Guards is sentry duty at the Istana Main Entrance along Orchard Road and near the Gun Terrace. The tradition dates back to 3 December 1959 when the late Encik Yusof Bin Ishak took office as the Yand Di-Pertuan Negara. Then, the Istana was guarded by combat troops from the only infantry regiment formed at the time – the 1st Battalion of the Singapore Infantry Regiment.
Today, a platoon of 20 guards from Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command perform duties in the Istana and are rotated on a monthly basis. The take-over by a new set of guards is signified by the Changing of Guards Ceremony.
Changing of Guards Ceremony
The use of combat troops to guard the Istana ceased in 1968 with the formation of the Singapore Armed Forces Guards Unit (SAFGU). Since 1969, a Changing of Guards Ceremony is held every first Sunday evening of the month, except July and August.
The format of the Ceremony is based on the British Changing of Guards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, England. 36 Guards and two Guard Commanders are involved in the Ceremony. The Guards are specially selected and trained for their turnout, bearing and drill.
The in-coming Guards will march from Koek Road (beside OG Orchard Point) to meet the out-going Guards at the main entrance of the Istana. The Changing of the Guards Ceremony is then carried out at the entrance of the Istana with military bands in attendance. As part of the ceremony, the Guards will also perform a Rifle Precision Drill.
Schedule for 2018
Sunday, 7 January 2018
Sunday, 4 February 2018
Sunday, 4 March 2018
Sunday, 1 April 2018
Sunday, 6 May 2018*
Sunday, 3 June 2018*
Sunday, 2 September 2018
Sunday, 7 October 2018
Sunday, 4 November 2018
Sunday, 2 December 2018
Dates may be subject to changes.
*There will be no Rifle Precision Drill component for the Changing of Guard (COG) on 6 May and 3 June.
The guards start marching from the starting point approximately 15 minutes to 6pm.