The Blues and Royals regiment is made up of the Royal Horse Guards (RHG) and the 1st Dragoons. They are a cavalry regiment in the British Army and, along with The Life Guards, make up the Household Cavalry Regiment. The British Household Cavalry is classed as a corps in its own right. Together the two regiments which make up the Household Cavalry, act as the Queen’s personal bodyguard. In 1969 the merger of the Royal Horse Guards, which were then known as “The Blues”, and The Royal Dragoons, which was known as “The Royals”, formed The Blues and Royals. The regiment is the only regiment in the British Army to be known by their nickname. Their Colonel-in-Chief is Queen Elizabeth II and is the second most senior regiment in the British Army. Both Prince William and Prince Harry joined the regiment as cornets in 2006. Due to their role as the monarch’s official bodyguard, this historically meant that the soldiers and officers of the Household Cavalry were drawn from British aristocracy. Although this is no longer the case, many of the officers maintain a close connection to the Royal Family. Newly commissioned officers in the Blues are Royals are named cornets, rather than Second Lieutenants. In the Household Cavalry, the rank of sergeant does not exist. In most dress orders, the Waterloo Eagle is worn on the left arm as part of dress traditions. As the regiment is part of the Household Division, they do not use the Order of the Bath Star for its office rank pips but use the Order of the Garter Star instead. Their lineage can be traced back to the New Model Army. During ceremonial occasions, The Blues and Royals wear a blue tunic, a metal cuirass and a matching helmet with a red plume. The Blues and Royals wear their chin strap under their chin, as opposed to the Life Guards, who wear it below their lower lip. The Blues and Royals are based in Windsor and central London. Since 1992, the squadrons from The Blues and Royals have served with the HCav in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Household Cavalry Regiment, who are made up of the Blues and Royals Regiment and the Life Guards Regiment, have been based in Windsor for more than 200 years. Over 250 soldiers marched through the town to mark their departure to Bulford Camp in Wiltshire on Salisbury Plain. The parade included marching troops, mounted troops and the Band of the Household Cavalry and started at Combermere Barracks and headed to Guildhall for a salute. The Princess Royal addressed The Household Cavalry and their families. The Welsh Guards will be taking over the Combermere barracks. This is all part of a major restructuring of the British Army.
The divisions of the regular army of the British Army have an order of precedence which dictates the order in which these divisions parade, from right to left. The unit on the extreme right, usually the Household Cavalry, is generally the highest ranking unit. Army Reserve units and Militia take precedence over regular units but this does not include the Honourable Artillery Company and The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers. • Household Cavalry • Royal Horse Artillery • Royal Armoured Corps • Corps of Royal Engineers • Royal Regiment of Artillery • Royal Corps of Signals • Infantry • Foot Guards • Line Infantry • The Rifles • Special Air Service • Army Air Corps • Special Reconnaissance Regiment • Royal Army Chaplains Department • Royal Logistic Corps • Royal Army Medical Corps • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers • Adjutant General's Corps • Royal Army Veterinary Corps • Small Arms School Corps • Royal Army Dental Corps • Intelligence Corps • Royal Army Physical Training Corps • General Service Corps • Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps • Corps of Army Music • Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) (Army Reserve) • Honourable Artillery Company (Although Army Reserve Regiments, they are included in the order of arms Regular Army) • Remainder of the Army Reserve • Royal Gibraltar Regiment • The Royal Bermuda Regiment The order of precedence for the Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps dates back to when the regiments had numbers rather than names. The Household Division regiments are always listed first, as they are the most senior. Today, as many regiments have been formed through amalgamations of other regiments, the order of precedence is given to those with the more senior amalgamated units. An example of this is that the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, which is one of the youngest in the army, is ranked second in the line infantry order as it is a direct descendant of the 2nd Regiment of Foot.
Spurs are usually worn in pairs on the heels of riding boots. Their purpose is to help direct the horse to move forward or laterally while riding. They help to refine commands but to also backup more natural riding aids such as the legs, hands and voice. The spur was first used by the Celts during the La Tène period which began in the 5th century BC. A medieval knight was said to have ‘earned his spurs’ and this phrase has continued in to the modern era as an honour given to individuals in organisations with military heritage. Members of the British Order of the Garter receive spurs from the Monarchy. Spur styles differ between disciplines. For instance, spurs used for western riding tend to be more decorated and heavier. Spurs used in English riding tend to be of a more conservative design and are very slim and sleek with a rounded or blunt end. When used in sports riding such as dressage, the spur’s purpose is not to speed up a horse, but to give accurate aids during complex movements. Dressage riders tend to ride in ‘Waterford’ style spurs which have a rounded knob on the end. Collectors of spurs look for beautiful antique spurs which often include a ‘rowel spur’. The rowel is a revolving wheel or disk containing radiating points, typically the type seen in Western Movies. Nowadays there are strict rules that dictate spur design so as to remove the possibility of inflicting damage to animals during their use. We stock a wide variety of Military Spurs on our website. Follow the link to view our selection.
A military parade is an organised formation of soldiers who restricted by close-order manoeuvring marching or ‘drilling’. Up until the late 19th century soldiers fought in formation, but in modern times the military parade is now entirely ceremonial. Sometimes a parade is performed to exhibit the military strength of a nation. The oldest and largest military parade in Europe is the Bastille Day Military Parade on the 14th of July in Paris during France’s national day celebrations. The terminology comes from close order formation combat where soldiers were held in strict formations to maximise their combat effectiveness. Military drills are performed to memorise certain actions, formations and movements. Recruits in modern armies are taught drills to show them how to work as a team while formations are also still used in riot control. There are four directions used in a parade: the Advance, the Retire, the Left and the Right. The Advance is the primary direction of movement and on a parade square is determined by the position of the flags. The Retire is the opposite of the Advance. As the names would suggest, The Left is to the left of the advance and the Right is to the right of the advance. Only one person is in charge of the parade at a time. Soldiers have restricted movement during parades and in most stances any movement at all is disallowed. It has been known for soldiers to faint while on parade. In British Armies there is a specific order of precedence. • Royal Horse Artillery • Royal Armoured Corps • Royal Regiment of Artillery • Corps of Royal Engineers • Royal Corps of Signals • Infantry • Foot Guards • Line Infantry • Rifles • Special Air Service • Army Air Corps • Special Reconnaissance Regiment • Royal Army Chaplains Department • Royal Logistic Corps • Royal Army Medical Corps • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers • Adjutant General's Corps • Royal Army Veterinary Corps • Small Arms School Corps • Royal Army Dental Corps • Intelligence Corps • Royal Army Physical Training Corps • General Service Corps • Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps • Corps of Army Music • Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) (Army Reserve) • Honourable Artillery Company (Although Army Reserve Regiments, they are included in the order of arms Regular Army) • Remainder of the Army Reserve • Royal Gibraltar Regiment • The Royal Bermuda Regiment Some of the military parades or ceremonial events in the British Military Forces are: Trooping the Colour, Changing of the Guard, Remembrance Sunday, Beating Retreat, State Visits and the Opening of Parliament. Ceremonial duties and parades are an important part of Army history and tradition. All soldiers who undertake such roles are highly trained and play an important part in military operations worldwide. Ceremonial events take place all over the world but few are as high profile as those that draw tourists to London. Wyedean stock a variety of Ceremonial items on the website and many of our [...]
The soldiers chosen to Troop the Colour, on June 17th at Horse Guards Parade, have this year been examined to check they are up to the job. The 1st Battalion The Irish Guards were inspected in their red tunics by General Officer Commanding London District and Major General Commanding the Household Division, Ben Bathurst. The Irish Guards wear a blue plume on the right side of their bearskins, and given that this is The Queen’s Blue Sapphire Jubilee, this seems very appropriate. The mantle and sash of the Order of St. Patrick, is also blue. Everything from the tailoring of the uniform to the regiment’s ability to march to time was under scrutiny by The Major General at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow. Dohmall, the regiment’s famous wolfhound mascot was also on parade. Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, became Colonel of The Irish Guards in 2011 and this year will be the first time since 2009 that their soldiers have trooped the Colour. Major General Bathurst said: ‘A huge amount of work goes in to making sure that the tailoring is right and I was extremely impressed with what I saw on the parade square.’ As a Foot Guards Regiment, as well as operational duties, the Irish Guards have also been involved in state ceremonial and public duties at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James’s Palace and The Tower of London. The soldiers preparing for the Queen’s Birthday Parade will ‘troop the colour’ in front of Her Majesty The Queen, 8500 guests and a massive global TV audience. Garrison Sergeant Major WO1 Andrew Stokes said, ‘We already know that they are excellent in the field but here we are looking for attention to detail and professionalism. I am pleased to say that both were there in abundance.’
An aiguillette is an ornamental braided cord, usually worn on a uniform to denote an honour. Although similar in some ways to a lanyard, the two should not be confused. Lanyards are made from fibre, whereas aiguillettes are usually made from silver or gold cord. Aiguillettes also have pointed tips. Plates of armour used to be secured together by attaching the breast and back plates with short loops of cord acting as a hinge on one side, while a more ornate loop was tied to support the arm defences on the other. As armour became more ornamental so did these ties. After the civil wars it became fashionable to have bunches of ribbons worn at the shoulder sometimes in the form of bows with tagged ends. This fashion died out in England but continued in the French court dress of Louis the 14th and 15th into the early 18th century. This style was revived by the British Army in the form of a knot with three loops, as a corporal’s badge of rank. In this form it was made of worsted or silk cord of regimental colour, with the pointed tags in the same metal as the buttons and coat lace. They were also worn in this fashion by staff officers in metal cord. This style continued for staff officers up to 1814 when the French style was introduced. This had evolved in the French court and army into the style we now recognise but in lighter cord and made in worsted, silk or metal cord. The modern heavy cord style is an elaborate Victorian invention. In the British Army there are four different types of aiguillette. 1st Class or Royal are worn by admirals of fleet, field marshals and also by members of the royal family. These aiguillettes are made from gold wire cord and worn on the right shoulder. Commissioned Officers of the Household Cavalry also wear this, but only in full dress. Warrant Officers of the Household Cavalry also wear them but on the left-hand shoulder. 2nd Class or Board are gold and dark blue or crimson and light blue. These differ slightly depending on whether they are worn by the RAF, Royal Navy or Army. This aiguillette is worn by officers on the right shoulder, along with military members of the Defence Board. 3rd Class or Staff are gold and dark blue, crimson or light blue. This again depends on whether they are being worn by the RAF, Royal Navy or Army. This aiguillette is worn on the left shoulder by assistants and aides-de-camp. The fourth is a simple aiguillette and is worn by lance corporals in the Household Cavalry and by bandsmen of the Dragoon Guards in full dress.
The Household Cavalry (HCav) is made up of the Life Guards and the Blue and Royals - the most senior regiments of the British Army. These two regiments are the Queen’s official bodyguard and are divided into two with the Armoured Regiment (HCR) being stationed at the Combermere Barracks in Windsor and the Mounted Regiment (HCMR) at Hyde Park Barracks in London. The Household Cavalry is classed as a corps and dates back to the 1660s. With the Life Guards being formed by King Charles II in 1660 and the Blues and Royals both being formed in 1661. The Blues and Royals were amalgamated into one unit in 1969. The two units of the Household Cavalry have very different roles: The first is the Household Cavalry regiment (HCR). This has an active operational role and serves using armoured fighting vehicles meaning the HCR are often at the forefront of the nation’s conflicts. The Household Division have been required to take part in special tasks as the Sovereign’s personal troops. The second unit is the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR). As the name suggests they are a mounted troop and carry out ceremonial duties on Royal occasions. They are most commonly known for the Trooping of the Colour ceremony on the Queen’s birthday. The regiment has been based at Hyde Park Barracks since 1795. Before World War II, recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 10 inches tall but could be no taller than 6 feet 1 inch. Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and warrant officers (WOs) in the Household Cavalry do not wear rank insignia on their full dress uniforms. Rank is indicated by the style of the aiguillettes. The ceremonial uniform for the Household Cavalry is different to that of other soldiers. They wear a shiny silver helmet with a long horsehair plume. When they are on mounted guard duty they also wear metal chest armour called a cuirass. The two regiments can be distinguished between by their jackets and the plumes on their helmets. The Life Guards wear red tunics or jackets with a white plume. The Blues and Royals wear blue tunics and have red plumes to their helmets. The Household Cavalry is regarded as the most prestigious unit in the British Army. Officers and soldiers were often drawn from the British aristocracy as they were in such close proximity to the reigning sovereign. The Household Cavalry still maintains a connection with the Royal Family and in recent years both Prince William and Prince Harry were commissioned into the Blues and Royals.
The Hussars The uniform of the Napoleonic Hussars included the pelisse: a short fur-edged jacket which was often worn slung over one shoulder in the style of a cape, and was fastened with a cord. This garment was extensively adorned with braiding (often gold or silver for officers) and rows of multiple buttons. The tunic was worn underneath, which was also decorated in braid. The Hussar's accoutrements included a Hungarian-style saddle, covered by a decorated saddlecloth, with long pointed corners surmounted by a sheepskin. On active service the Hussar normally wore reinforced breeches which had leather on the inside of the leg to prevent them from wearing. On the outside of their breeches was a row of buttons, and sometimes a stripe in a different colour. A busby was worn as headwear. The colours of the dolman, pelisse and breeches varied greatly by regiment, even within the same army. Hussars were the only corps in the British Army allowed to wear moustaches. The Hussar's look has mostly become legendary because of what the hussars did while wearing it. They had made it a point in their honour code to be the most scandalous, daredevils of all military corps. They wore ponytails and moustaches. They looted and pillaged. You may have seen many of these uniforms in the recent television production of War and Peace. Many braids and laces used on this uniform can be seen on our website here. The United States Marine Corps Dress Blues The Marine Corps have a dress blue uniform, in addition to their green service uniform which is part of a long line of historical Marine Corps uniforms - dating back to the American Revolution. The most formal of a Marine's uniforms outside of the elaborate evening dress uniforms of officers and senior enlisted, it is often referred to as "Dress Blues" and can be worn in many forms. It is the only uniform of the United States military to use all of the colours of the nation's flag and incorporates button designs which are the oldest military insignia still in use in the United States Armed Forces. A sword may be worn when the individual is in command of troops in formation. When wearing the sword and Dress Blue coat, officers wear the Sam Browne belt. For enlisted, the sword is worn with a white waist belt and brass buckle when wearing the Dress Blue coat. It is the single most imitated uniform by other militaries and has remained unchanged for decades. Royal Air Force The RAF's service dress is worn on formal and ceremonial occasions. It remains essentially unchanged from the service dress uniform adopted in the early 1920s. It consists of a blue-grey jacket and trousers (or skirt for a female). In 1947, the temperate officers' service dress jacket was altered. The lower side pockets were removed and the single slit was replaced by two hacking jacket style slits. The lower button was moved up to a position behind the belt and [...]