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Blues and royals

The meaning of «blues and royals»

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. It is the second-most senior regiment in the British Army.

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] Of these, the Blues were founded as a unit of the New Model Army, having been raised in 1650 by Sir Arthur Haselrig on orders from Oliver Cromwell; it was incorporated into the Restoration army in 1660 and gained the title "Royal" in the 18th century. The Royal Dragoons were formed shortly after the Restoration, in 1661, composed of cavalry veterans of the New Model Army.[2]

Since formation in 1969, the new regiment has served in Northern Ireland, Germany, and Cyprus. 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 1994–95. Most recently, the regiment saw action in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.[1]

Both Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, joined the regiment as cornets in 2006.[3]

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.[4]

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 its nickname as opposed to its full name.[5]

Newly commissioned officers in the Blues and Royals have the rank of cornet, rather than second lieutenant as is the standard in the rest of the British Army. There is no sergeant rank in the Household Cavalry; the equivalent of a sergeant in another unit is Corporal of Horse; the equivalent of Regimental Sergeant Major is Regimental Corporal Major, etc. King Edward VII established that the rank of private should be replaced by the rank of trooper in the cavalry.[6]

The Blues and Royals is the only regiment in the British Army that allows troopers and non-commissioned officers, when not wearing headdress, to salute an officer. The custom 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.[7]

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