Gibraltar’s Ceremony of the Keys returns after suspension

The Ceremony of the Keys
The Ceremony of the Keys Credit: GBC Twitter

GIBRALTAR’S Ceremony of the Keys returns after suspension due to pandemic and is an important historical procedure held twice a year.

During the Great Siege of Gibraltar, which was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the War of the American Revolution in the 18th Century, the Fortress was locked every evening.

Platoons of British troops were placed outside the walls to act as sentries and to alert those inside of any attempted incursions by Spanish troops.


The keys were kept by the Governor who would hand them to the Port (Gate) Sergeant each evening at sunset and this tradition of locking the gates carried on until the 19th Century but was resurrected in 1933 with the ceremony taking place in April and October of each year.

After 18 months of no ceremony, the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, Commander British Forces Gibraltar and other members of the military saw the Royal Gibraltar Regiment’s I Company march into Casemates holding the keys.

After inspection, the large crowd was entertained by music from the Royal Gibraltar Band and Corps of Drums, and the visiting Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers on the same day that the Royal Marines celebrated the 25th Anniversary of being granted the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar.

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