The Royal Guard’s personnel shortage between now and Christmas is critical and the military hopes to attract bayonet-bearing professional soldiers willing to don the blue uniform and spiked shiny helmets.
The Stockholm-based Life Guards group says it is seeking 130 soldiers and 15-20 officers for service. The salary, including various benefits, is 20,000 kronor per month – around ten times more than a conscript’s 72 kronor a day allowance.
The Royal Guard has been operating since 1523. Since the 1960s all of Sweden’s military units have supplied soldiers for guards duty, sending some of their national service conscripts to Stockholm.
The Life Guards group is responsible for making up any shortfall and supplies the majority of the soldiers on duty at the palace. Traditionally, the Life Guards also keep enemies from the palace at Christmas.
One of the reasons for the shortage is a new schedule for military duty: the majority of conscripts join in the new year and leave in early December.
Another problem for the Royal Guard is that the number of military units in Sweden has fallen considerably since the 1960s.