Tower of London lies empty amid coronavirus with famous beefeaters cut off in isolation
For 1,000 years, the great Tower of London is where kings and queens have retreated in the face of grave threats, and over the last decade more than 3 million people a year have visited.
But now because of coronavirus it lies practically empty, it’s fallen quiet and the drawbridge has quite literally been pulled up. Fox News was given a rare look inside.
The only people living there now, cut off in isolation, are the 37 famous beefeaters, historically the British monarch’s personal bodyguards who live inside the walled fortress, with their families, and who are there to protect the crown jewels.
These crowns, robes, and other items of ceremonial regalia have been protected on site by the beefeaters for 600 years – and are all kept in the famous white tower.
During lockdown the beefeaters have had to forge a life in there, almost totally cut off from London, which surrounds them. There is a total of 120 people, including children – and just like the rest of us, they have had to homeschool, and figure out how to exercise from home, though in their case it’s running around the moat, or the ramparts.
They have of course been allowed to receive food, and most of all say they are missing the cleaners.
All beefeaters – formally known as yeoman warders – are retired from the armed services and must be former warrant officers with at least 22 years of service. They must also hold the long service and good conduct medal. They are believed to be known as beefeaters as they once received a portion of their salary in beef.
Chief beefeater Peter McGowren says it’s the quietest the tower ever has been.
And after 1,000 years of history – having faced down wars, famines, fires and uprisings – for the first time, this new invisible enemy has hit it hard.
Even though it lies emptyth, the key ceremony–which has taken place every night for 700 years–still happens and the famous ravens, whose departure legend says would signal impending doom and disaster, are also still there.
But even here, coronavirus reached inside and the Chief beefeater’s wife spent two weeks in ICU
He told Fox News that the fortress had kept harmful things out for a thousand years. But that the silent killer got in, leaving his wife fighting for her life – but, he added, they fought back, and now she is better
Now they say they can’t wait to get out of the tower, to allow tourists back in, and see their exclusive onsite pub, The Yeoman Warders Club, reopen.