Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Yeomen of the Guard: The Oldest Extant Military Corps in the World

The "Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard" are a bodyguard of the British Commonwealth Monarch. The oldest extant British military corps, and indeed the oldest military corps in existence in the world today, it was created by Henry VII in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field. As a token of this venerability, the Yeoman still wear red and gold state dress of Tudor style, equipped with a Wilkinson Sword on the left hip, and an eight-foot Partisan carried in the right arm.

History of the Queen's Body Guard

"The history of the Queen's Body Guard can be tentatively traced back to the armed personal guards of the Saxon and Norman sovereigns. However, its real historical origins are found in those who were charged with guarding the Plantagenet rulers of eight hundred years ago. These latter guards however, were known by various designations, such as “Cross Bowmen of the Household,” and “Archers of the Guard of the King’s Body,” and were often created anew by the Monarch on his accession. It was King Henry VII, the first of the Tudor dynasty, to make his Royal Body Guard a permanent institution and confer on it a definite title, a title it continues to hold.

Since its creation as a permanent Corps, the Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard has an absolutely unbroken history of over 520 years; for even during the brief period of The Commonwealth between 1649-1659 it continued to serve with King Charles II during his enforced absence in France, and at the Restoration accompanied him on his return to England, took its historic place in his triumphal entry into London, and stood around him at his immediate Coronation."

- from Yeomen of the Guard's new Official Site

The Yeomen of the Guard are not Beefeaters

The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard should not be confused with the Yeomen Warders who are permanently employed as custodians of the Tower of London and protector of the Crown Jewels, a duty the venerable Warders have carried out for many centuries. The Tudor uniform of the Queen's Body Guard and the Yeomen Warders state dress are practically identical, the only apparent difference is a crossbelt which is worn by the Queen's Body Guard and was used centuries ago to support a long barrelled rifle called a Harquebus.

As it states on the bodyguard's website, the present Yeomen of the Guard "no longer carry the harquebus, or a quiver of arrows with the long-bow of by-gone days, or indeed protect the body of the Sovereign in its true meaning, but we are as proud and certainly no less loyal to our Sovereign, because, we are:

The Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard (The Body Guard)."


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post on the Queen's oldest royal bodyguard. Uplifting in a way only befitting a monarchy. Say goodbye to all this if the monarchy ever goes.

Remember that the Queen also has two other sovereign bodyguards not quite as old, but old nonetheless: Gentlemen-At-Arms and the Royal Company of Archers. Would be nice to post on these in the future asa well.