Image: British Beefeaters.
Shaun Curry  /  AFP - Getty Images
Yeoman Warder Moira Cameron, center, starts work as the first female Beefeater at the Tower of London, on Monday.
updated 9/3/2007 9:17:44 PM ET 2007-09-04T01:17:44

A woman joined the protectors of the Crown Jewels on Monday as one of the famed Beefeaters of the Tower of London, becoming the first female Yeoman Warder since the corps of Tower guards was created in 1485.

Moira Cameron, a Warrant Officer Class 2 who joined the army at age 20, was selected over five men who also applied for the vacancy.

“This place is magical. It’s just a wonderful job and I’m very, very lucky to have it,” said Cameron, 42, who spent much of her first morning on duty talking to journalists.

“You wake up in the morning and you know you’re going to have a good day.”

There are 35 Yeoman Warders at the Tower plus the Chief Yeoman Warder and Yeoman Gaoler. Video: Tradition over

Candidates must have been a warrant officer or senior noncommissioned officer, have served at least 22 years in the army, Royal Air Force or Royal Marines and hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

While the warders’ role was initially to provide security for the Tower — a 900-year-old fortress built by William the Conqueror — and to guard its famous captives, they now spend most of their days guiding visitors and posing patiently for snapshots. They also attend coronations, funerals and charity functions.

Chief Yeoman Warder John Keohane said he and his colleagues had anticipated that a woman would one day join their ranks, and that only one or two had expressed reservations.

“She’s been here for two months and been accepted by the community,” he said.

“Life is moving on here at the Tower,” he added.

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