In Collaboration With Charles Griffin


Horseguards, 1884
The date on the painting is 1884 which is remarkable because there is so little difference between the scene then and now. What they are guarding is the old gatehouse that was the beginning of a long avenue to the Royal Residence at St James's Palace. George III moved the Residence to Buckingham Palace, keeping Horseguards as the entrance. After the completion of Trafalgar Square in 1841, The Mall became the natural approach to the palace, but Queen Victoria, who was by that time on the throne, decided to retain Horseguards as the official entrance to Buckingham palace.

The Guard rides from Hyde Park Barracks' via The Mall to the Front Yard of Horseguards. The guard is mounted every day at 11 o'clock (10 o'clock on Sunday). When the Queen is in residence, there are more men and they are commanded by an officer. This is called a 'Long Guard'. When she is not in residence, there are fewer men, commanded by an NCO and it is called a 'Short Guard'.

Horseguards is named after the soldiers who have guarded it from 1660 until the present day. Up until 1788, they were called Horse Guards, divided into 4 Troops, 1st (The King's), 2nd (The Queen's), 3rd (The Duke of York's) and 4th (The Scottish). In 1746 they were reduced to 2 Troops, which in turn were amalgamated with 2 Troops of Horse Grenadier Guards to form the 2 Regiments of Life Guards.

The original Troops of Horse Guards were not ordinary soldiers as in the line regiments, they were 'gentlemen'. The 1st Troop were originally young men of noble birth who joined the exiled Prince Charles in France. Impressed by King Louis XIV's Household troops, Charles formed his own bodyguard with these men, placing them under the command of Lord Gerard of Brandon. When Charles returned to England on 25th May 1660 he was escorted to London by the King' Troop of Horse Guards. At Charles II's Coronation on April 23rd 1661, the two Troops were described in the Mercurius Publicus as follows:

Duke of York's Troop
"..the King's Horse Guard, all well mounted, having Buffe coates and white armour, their Horses furnished Hooses (being short ffoot cloth [sic] ) with red scarfes and plumes of red and white feathers....the van of all was led by the Guards of His Royal Highnesse the Duke of York commanded by S. Charles Berkeley, all having black armour, red, white and black feathers, red scarfes with belts of His Highness's livery..."

The Bangers
The Gallopers
The Cheesemongers
The Fly-slicers
The Piccadilly Butchers
The Roast and Boiled
The Ticky Tins
The Tin Bellies
The Patent Safeties
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Evil be to him who evil thinks
Regimental Marches
Men of Harlech (Quick)
The Slow March of 2nd Life Guards (Slow)
Regimental Anniversary
Waterloo Day 18th June
1788 - 1922
Lieutenant Colonels
1788 - 1922
1788 - 1922
1788 - 1922
Campaign Dress
1788 - 1922
1788 - 1922
Principal Campaigns and Battles
1812 - 1814 Peninsular War
1815 Hundred Days
1815 Waterloo
1882 Egypt
1882 Tel El Kebir
1884 - 1885 Sudan
1885 Khartoum
1900 - 1902 South Africa
1900 Relief of Kimberley
1900 Paardeberg
1914 - 1918 The Great War
1914 Mons
1914 Le Cateau
1914 Marne
1914 Retreat from Mons
1914 Armentieres
1914 Langemarck
1914 Aisne
1914, 15, 17 Ypres
1916 Gheluvelt
1916 Nonne Boschen
1916 St Julien
1916 Frezenberg
1916 Albert
1917, 1918 Scarpe
1916, 1918 Somme
1917, 1918 Arras
1918 Broodenseinde
1918 Poelcapelle
1918 Passchendale
1918 Bapaume
1918 Epehy
1918 St Quentin Canal
1918 Beaurevoir
1918 Cambrai
1918 Selle
Hindenburg Line
Predecessor Units
The Life Guards
2nd Troop of Horse Guards

(1661 - 1788)
Successor Units
The Life Guards
(1922 - )
Suggested Reading
History of the Household Cavalry
by Sir George Arthur
(Constable: 1909, 1926: 3 vols)
The Story of the First Life Guards
(Harrap: 1922)
Historical Record of the Life Guards
(London: Clowes: 1836)
Regimental Museum
Household Cavalry Museum
Combermere Barracks

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by Stephen Luscombe