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Blues and Royals
Cavalry Trooping the Colour, 16th June 2007
Troopers of the Blues and Royals at the Trooping the Colour parade, London, 2007
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army
Service history
Active 23 March 1969-Present
Role Formation Reconnaissance/Ceremonial
Size One regiment of three squadrons
Part of Household Cavalry
Nickname The Tin Bellies
Motto Honi soit qui mal y pense
(Evil be to him who evil thinks)
Commanders Queen Elizabeth IIAnne, Princess Royal
Insignia GuardsTRF

The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) (RHG/D) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, part of the Household Cavalry. The Colonel-in-Chief is Queen Elizabeth II and the Colonel of the Regiment is Anne, Princess Royal. Both Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales joined the regiment as cornets in 2006.


The Blues and Royals is one of two regiments of the Household Division that can trace its lineage back to the New Model Army, the other being the Coldstream Guards.


The regiment was formed in 1969 from the merger of The Royal Horse Guards, which was known as "The Blues" or "The Oxford Blues", and The Royal Dragoons, which was known as "The Royals".[1]

Since then, the new regiment has served in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Afghanistan. During the Falklands War of 1982, the regiment provided the two armoured reconnaissance troops. The regiment also had a squadron on operational duty with the United Nations in Bosnia in 1994/1995.

Operational unionEdit

As a result of the Options for Change Review in 1991, the Blues and Royals formed a union for operational purposes with the Life Guards as the Household Cavalry Regiment. However, they each maintain their regimental identity, with distinct uniforms and traditions, and their own colonel. The Blues and Royals currently has two reconnaissance squadrons in Windsor, which are part of the Household Cavalry Regiment, and a mounted squadron in London as part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

Regimental traditionsEdit

Instead of being known as the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons, the regiment is known as The Blues and Royals and is therefore the only regiment in the British Army to be officially known by their nickname as opposed to their full name.[2]

Newly commissioned officers in the Blues and Royals are named Cornets rather than Second Lieutenants as is the standard in the rest of the British Army.

The rank of sergeant does not exist in the Household Cavalry rather the equivalent is Corporal of Horse, this also applies to any other ranks with the word sergeant in it, such as Regimental Sergeant Major, which is replaced by Regimental Corporal Major. King Edward VII also declared the rank of Private shall be replaced by Trooper.

The Blues and Royals are the only regiment in the British Army that allows troopers and non-commissioned officers to salute an officer when they are not wearing headdress. The custom had started after the Battle of Warburg in 1760 by The Marquess of Granby, who commanded both the Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Dragoons, which were separate units at the time. During the battle, the Marquess had driven the French forces from the field, losing both his hat and his wig during the charge. When reporting to his commander, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, in the heat of the moment he is said to have saluted without wearing his headdress, having lost it earlier. When the Marquess of Granby became the Colonel of the Blues, the regiment adopted this tradition.

When the Household Cavalry mounts an escort to the Sovereign on State occasions, a ceremonial axe with a spike is carried by a Farrier Corporal of Horse. The reason behind this is that when a horse was wounded or injured so seriously that it could not be treated, its suffering was ended by killing it with the spike. The axe is also a reminder of the days when the Sovereign’s Escorts accompanied royal coaches and when English roads were very bad. Horses often fell, becoming entangled in their harnesses and had to be freed with the cut of an axe. It is also said that, in those times, if a horse had to be put to death, its rider had to bring back a hoof, cut off with the axe, to prove to the Quartermaster that the animal was in fact dead, thereby preventing fraudulent replacement. Today, the axe remains as a symbol of the Farrier’s duties.[3]


The Blues and Royals wear the Home Service helmet with a red plume worn unbound, the exception to this is the regiment's farriers who wear a black plume. In addition, 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 Royal wear a blue lanyard on the left shoulder, a whistle on their Sam Browne belt and Waterloo Eagle on the left arm as part of dress traditions. Officer rank insignia worn on shirts has a blue backing behind it. The thread colour on rank slides is white, with the addition of red detailing for those Officer rank insignia that have stars ('pips').[4] The Household Cavalry, as part of the Household Division, does not wear the Order of the Bath Star but rather the Order of the Garter Star.

Prince Harry wore the uniform at the wedding of his brother, Prince William, to Catherine Middleton.[5]

Battle honoursEdit

Horseguards - Blues and Royals - Relève à Whitehall - Londres

*Awarded jointly with the Life Guards for services of the Household Cavalry Regiment


Affiliated YeomanryEdit

Order of precedenceEdit

Preceded by
The Life Guards
Cavalry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards


  1. "The Blues and Royals". British Army. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  5. "Revealed: The outfit for the royal wedding", The Daily Mail, 29 April 2011

External linksEdit

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