The Household Cavalry

The Household Cavalry are Cavalry Regiments who along with the five Foot Guards Regiments form the Household Division.

Formed in 1661 under the direct order of King Charles II the Household Cavalry today consists of the two senior regiments of the British Army, The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals who have two roles:

The operational role, of the The Household Cavalry Regiment, is in armoured fighting vehicles and they have been involved in Britain's military operations including the Falklands, the Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo and most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, equipped with horses, consists of a Squadron of The Life Guards, and a Squadron of The Blues and Royals who provide 'The King's Life Guard' and carry out ceremonial duties, including the provision of the Sovereign's Escort for State and Royal occasions.

Household Cavalry escort for a State Visit in Windsor Castle
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment providing Escort for State Visit at Windsor Castle.

The Life Guards

The Life Guards, although not the oldest, is the most senior regiment of the British Army.

They were formed by Prince Charles, later King Charles II, when he was exiled at the end of the civil war from loyal followers who traveled with him to Holland.

Since their first action in the Battle of Maastricht in 1672 the Life Guards have won numerous battle honours, including Waterloo, Marne, Brussels and El Alamein.

The Life Guards who always ride black horses, except the Trumpeters who ride grays, wear scarlet tunics and metal helmets with white plumes.

During inclement weather they sometimes wear a long red cloak with a blue collar.

Life Guard trooper

Life Guard Trooper (Photographer Ross Stevenson)

The Blues And Royals

The Blues and Royals were formed in 1969 when The Royal Horse Guards, which was known as 'The Blues' or 'The Oxford Blues', and The Royal Dragoons, which was known as 'The Royals' were merged.

They are the only regiment in the British Army officially known by their nickname, 'The Blues and Royals, Instead of being known as the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons.

Their battle honours stretch back to Tangiers 1662 - 1680 and include the Battle of Waterloo where they captured the Napoleonic Eagle of the French 105th Infantry Regiment.

The Blues and Royals wear blue tunics and metal helmets with red plumes. Except for the Trumpeters who ride grays, they ride black horses .

During poor weather they may wear a long blue cloak with a red collar.

Life Guard trooper

Blues & Royals Trooper (Photographer Ross Stevenson


The Band of The Household Cavalry

The Band of The Life Guards and the Band of The Blues and Royals combined in September 2014 to form the The Band of The Household Cavalry.

The musicians in the combined band still wear their regimental uniforms except when a member of the Royal Family is present when the trumpeters and musicians wear state dress, comprising a gold state coat with the royal cipher at the front and rear, with a blue ‘jockey’ cap.

The Band perform in both a mounted and dismounted role and can be seen from time to time providing musical support for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Household Cavarly Band Drum Horse

Drum Horse of the Household Cavalry Band

Summer Camp

Each year the men and women of Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery provide The King's Life Guard when the men and horses of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment are on their summer camp.

Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery are Her Majesty’s Mounted Ceremonial Battery, whose role includes the firing of Royal Salutes to mark the grand occasions of State, including The King’s Birthday Parade, Royal Birthdays and Births.

Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery Mounting The King's Life Guard

Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery Mounting The King's Life Guard

Find out more about Gun Salutes and where and when they are fired.

The Household Cavalry Museum

The Household Cavalry Museum is situated at Horse Guards, in the heart of historic London.

Horse Guards, dating from 1750, is still the headquarters of the Household Division, where the Household Cavalry has changed the King's Life Guard in a daily ceremony that has remained broadly unchanged for over 350 years.

The Household Cavalry Museum is not just a dazzling display of uniforms, weaponry and priceless artifacts it is a living museum which provides a behind the scenes look the ceremonial and operational roles of the Household Cavalry.

At the Household Cavalry Museum you can see the troopers, in the original 18th century stables, working with their horses through a large glazed partition. Hear compelling personal stories, first hand accounts of the troopers' rigorous and demanding training.

This may not be one of the largest museums you will find in London but audio guides, interactive displays and the chance to try on the uniform of His Majesty The King's Life Guard combined with collection of stunning rare objects make the Household Cavalry Museum well worth the visit.

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