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Into the future
Elizabeth II HAS REIGNED in a world moving swiftly through political shifts, cultural change and technological advances. Traditional institutions of law, religion and politics have suffered loss of ...
Elizabeth II (1952 - )
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 17 Bruton Street, London on 21 April 1926. A happy childhood was spent with her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, and younger sister Margaret Rose. ...
Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)
Edward VIII (1936) Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, was known to the family as 'David'. Charming and informal, he was a popular prince, touring Britain and the empire, ...
George V (1910 - 1936)
Edward vii's eldest son Albert died at the age of 28, and so it was his second son, George, who followed him as king. George had learned the navy's traditions of duty and. Blue-eyed, blunt, and ...
House of Windsor
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she left three generations of heirs. They, it was expected, would reign as monarchs of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In fact, the name survived only 16 years. In ...
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The Blues and RoyalsIn 1969 The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) were amalgam...
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How to Prepare for a Parade

Nо ceremonial happens by magic. Each major parade takes many hours of careful preparation. Soldiers have to clean all their personal kit. Cuirasses (breastplates), helmets and swords are painstakingly polished. It takes about 45 minutes using Brasso and chalk brushes to clean cuirass and helmet. Buckskins (white leather trousers), gauntlets (long gloves), cross belts, and sword slings are scrubbed down and a layer of white sap (similar to tennis shoe whitener) added. Cleaning jackboots (the tall, black leather boots worn on parade) is hugely time consuming. Hot beeswax is soaked into the leather and then tins of polish are laboriously layered on - many hours of continuous work. Troopers work through the night to get themselves ready for a State visit.
The Household Division

Visitors to London or Windsor are likely to see soldiers of the Household Division guarding Horse Guards, Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Windsor Castle or the Tower of London, as well as taking part in all major State ceremonies. If they have not seen them for real, they will have read about them or seen occasions like Trooping the Colour on television. All Household Division regiments are referred to as Guards regiments.
The Household Cavalry Musical Ride

The Household Cavalry has a world-famous display team that consists of 26 horses and riders. Men and horses are picked from The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals squadrons of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment based in London.
The Bands
On all the major State occasions, notably The Queen's Birthday Parade, or Trooping the Colour, the massed bands of The Household Cavalry and the Foot Guards hold centre stage. The two Household Cavalry bands encapsulate all that is most splendid in State ceremonial occasions, dressed in magnificent embroidered gold coats, blue velvet jockey caps and thigh-length riding boots (jack boots), and mounted on black horses. This is the oldest ceremonial uniform in the regular army, only worn in the presence of the Royal Family and the Lord Mayor of London.
Behind the Scenes


The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment relies on specialists to train horse and rider, keep horses on the road and ensure horse furniture and uniforms fit correctly.
The Horses (part two)Household Cavalry horses are named alphabetically, each year's horses sharing the same initial. For example, Invader, Imogen and India arrived in 2008 and Jubilee, Jenna and Jupiter in 2009.From arrival to taking part in ceremonial occasions, the average horse takes six months to train. Varied ceremonial roles demand different characteristics: officers' chargers should be confident enough to lead other horses; troop horses in the divisions need to be able to cope with working closely with others; standard horses must be rock-steady to carry the regimental standards or flags; and band horses calm enough not to bounce musicians around.
The Horses (part one)


Throughout history, until very recent years, the horse was central to warfare. From well before Roman times, soldiers have marched with and fought on horses. 'Cavalry' comes from cheval, the French for 'horse', and until the Second World War, cavalry regiments were just that - soldiers on horseback. In battle, the cavalry was the most mobile force, striking rapidly with maximum effect. A military horse had to carry the considerable weight of a soldier and his equipment, sometimes for months.
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment


Today, The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) is by far the larger of the two completely 'horsed' units remaining in the British Army, the other being The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Its role is entirely ceremonial but its soldiers uniquely divide their careers between ceremonial duties and operational soldiering with The Household Cavalry Regiment.
The Queen's Life Guard

The Queen's Life Guard is the name given to guard duty performed by The Household Cavalry at Horse Guards. It dates from 1660 when The Life Guards mounted a permanent guard at the entrance to Whitehall Palace. Responsibility for mounting the guard alternates daily between The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals. An inspection in Hyde Park Barracks decides which 'relief' a soldier will do: the smartest will carry out his duty on his horse and the least well turned out will do longer duties on foot. The guard then rides to Horse Guards via Hyde Park Corner, Constitution Hill and The Mall.
The Household Cavalry Regiment

The collapse of the Soviet empire led to a major restructuring of Britain's armed forces. In 1992, huge cuts in the size of the army caused a reduction in size of The Household Cavalry. The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals joined together in a 'union' (not an amalgamation, as both regiments kept their separate identities) from which sprang a composite armoured reconnaissance regiment, The Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR). The regiment lives in barracks in Windsor on the site given to The Blues by King George III in 1804. The Household Cavalry now consists of only two entities - HCR and the ceremonial regiment in London.