The Blues and Royals RegimentSusannah Walbank
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.