514.

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l)No other historic monument in England can boast of such an unbroken continuity with the past or of having played such a major part in the nation’s heritage as the Tower of London.

2) The Tower’s great sense of history lives on in its traditions and particularly in the ceremonies which are still performed here virtually unchanged after several centuries.

3) The Tower is justly well-known for its unique Ceremony of the Keys which in some form may well have been enacted nightly for over seven hundred years.

4) This is probably the oldest military ceremony in the world and no one can witness it without admiring the absolute precision of the participants.

5) The ceremony begins at eight minutes to ten o’clock each evening when the Chief Yeoman Warder, in a long scarlet coat, leaves the Byward Tower accompanied by an escort of four soldiers and secures the main gates of the Tower.

6) Then, as he and the escort return, the sentry at the Bloody Tower gives the challenge, «Halt, who goes there?»

7) The Chief Warder replies, «The Keys.» The sentry asks, «Whose Keys?» The Chief Warder answers, «Queen Elizabeth’s Keys.»

8 ) The party then proceeds to the foot of the steps leading to Broad Walk where they are met by the main guard who present arms.

9) The Chief Warder, raising his Tudor bonnet, cries out, «God preserve Queen Elizabeth!» The guard respond with «Amen,» as the clock strikes ten.

10) The Warder finally bears the Keys to the Queen’s House where they are kept securely overnight.

#1. (…)Are English ceremonies perfected and altered throughout the centuries?

#2. (…)Is the Ceremony of the Keys one of the common customs in the Tower of London?

#3. (…) Where and when can one witness the exciting Ceremony of the Keys?

#4. (…) Where are the Keys preserved for security purposes?

#5. (…) The Ceremony of the Keys is one of the stirring and memorable civil customs, isn’t it?

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