|Don't be fooled by the uniform - these guards are prepared to die for the Pope|
The historical primary role of the Swiss Guard is to guard the Pontiff; in fact, at the swearing in ceremony for recruits to the corps, they actually sign up to promise that they would die for the Holy Father, if the need should arise.
We see them on guard at various points around the Vatican and, at Masses and audiences they are much in evidence, tall, young and formidable despite the somewhat garish uniform.
We seldom hear of their prowess in the musical stakes but, like all good military groups, they have their own band that provides the music at many papal events and, this year, they are launching their own compilation of Christmas carols and music.
The CD 'Christmas with the Pontifical Swiss Guard' is available from www.alivepublishing.co.uk