Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Sikh soldier makes history at Buckingham Palace

A Sikh soldier has made history today by becoming the first soldier to guard Buckingham Palace without wearing the iconic bearskin head gear.

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar, 25, was pictured taking part in the Changing of the Guard wearing his turban.

The Scots Guardsman previously said being the first Sikh to mount guard in a turban would be the 'best thing in his life'.

Bhullar, from West Bromwich, said: 'Conducting public duties while being a practising Sikh and wearing my turban is a great honour for me.

'I am very proud to be a member of the Household Division and to be the first Sikh Guardsman to mount guard in a turban will be the best thing in my life, especially as a member of the Scots Guards.

'The regiment is full of history, as is my religion.'

The soldier has just joined F Company Scots Guards - what is known as an 'incremental company' of soldiers responsible for delivering ceremonial duties in London.

As a five-K Sikh - someone who adheres to all five symbols that mark Sikh identity - he will also be distinguishable from his fellow soldiers on parade by his beard.

Sikhs in the Household Division have guarded the Queen many times before, but have always worn the bearskin.

Sikh Chaplain to the Armed Forces Mandeep Kaur welcomed the move, telling the Evening Standard: 'Sikhs have served Britain in World War I and II with their turbans intact, confirming their commitment towards righteousness and serving others and living their identity till their last breath.'

'I applaud the British Army for being appreciative and respectful towards diversity.

The soldier faced a backlash from some Guardsmen angry that 180 years of tradition were being sidelined to allow him to fulfil his religious vows.

However, others spoke out in favour of his right to religious expression, with a Facebook group in support of him describing Guardsman Bhullar as 'a credit to the nation'.



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