Tag Archives: The Queen

19 Fascinating Facts about the Household Cavalry


Most everyone knows about the chaps with the red tunics and black bearskin hats. They are an icon of Britain to be sure. If you’re a die-hard Anglophile you’ve probably seen these soldiers with shiny plumed helmets marching along or riding on horseback about London.  Maybe you’ve seen them in various parades on the telly but didn’t know their proper names or purpose. In light of Her Majesty’s upcoming birthday celebration, these particular guards feature prominently in The Queen’s Birthday Parade. However, these ceremonial roles only scratch the surface of the Household Cavalry.

Seeing the Household Cavalry in Action

The first time I actually saw these soldiers in action was at the Tower of London on Periscope. There was a tall, sturdy Life Guard performing his guard duty who kept utterly still. Many of the tourists pestered him but he did not flinch. I was astonished. As with the Foot Guards, the Life Guards and Blues and Royals are highly trained in their ceremonial duties including annoying tourists. All of the Royal Guards are empowered to yell and use certain force against the public who cross them. See an example of strength used by Horse Guards and Foot Guards in this amateur video:

Fascinating Facts about the Household Cavalry

Below are 14 fascinating facts about the Household Cavalry which are broken into 3 sections: The Household Cavalry, the Life Guards, and the Blues and Royals.

Household Cavalry

  1. British Army – the oldest and most senior regiments in the British Army are the Life Guards and Blues and Royals
  2. Colonel-in-Chief – Her Majesty, The Queen holds this title for both regiments of the Household Cavalry
  3. Colonel of the Regiment – Anne, Princess Royal holds this title for the Blues and Royals
  4. Motto – Honi soit qui mal y pense (Evil be to him who evil thinks)
  5. Type and Regiment – they are both Horse Guards of the British Army; fully trained for combat on horseback and on foot in Windsor, London, and abroad
  6. Royal Duties – those assigned to the royal detail are known as The Queen’s Guard and The Queen’s Life Guard. Since 1660, their primary responsibilities are guarding royal residences and The Sovereign. They are fully-trained military officers who are armed with live ammunition and ready for any incursion against Her Majesty or any of the royal palaces.
  7. Ceremonial Roles – both the Life Guards and Blues and Royals are officially the Sovereign’s Escort during Royal Processions, i.e. Trooping the Colour. Two divisions ride ahead of the carriage and two behind it.

Life Guards

Impressive in their bright red tunics, white snug-fitting trousers, and shiny breastplates, The Life Guards execute their ceremonial duties with precision about the royal residences.

  1. Dress Uniforms – Red tunic, White plume, Black collar, and wear their chin strap below their lower lip
  2. Roles – Formation Reconnaissance (armored reconnaissance at a higher-level formation) and Ceremonial (public duties of ceremonial or historical significance)
  3. Formation – originally 5 troops; the first raised in 1658 as His Majesty’s Own Troop of Horse Guards by Charles II.
  4. Current Regiments – reorganized into 2 regiments in 1788 and from 1877 simply called 1st Life Guards and 2nd Life Guards, and then renamed The Life Guards in 1928.
  5. Nicknames – Piccadilly Cowboys, Donkey Wallopers, Tins, Tinned Fruit, Piccadilly Butchers
  6. Distinction – During WWII, they participated in the Normandy landings and the advance through France to liberate Brussels.

Blues and Royals

High upon horseback, in their dark blue coats and red-plumed helmets, the regal Blues and Royals sharply survey all around them, keeping a watchful eye out for anything amiss.

  1. Dress Uniforms – Blue tunic, Red plume, Red collar, and wear their chin strap under their chin
  2. Roles – Armored Reconnaissance (operate tanks and other armored vehicles) and Ceremonial (public duties of ceremonial or historical significance)
  3. Formation – began in 1969, from the merger of the Royal Horse Guards, The Oxford Blues, and The Royal Dragoons
  4. Current Regiments – formed a union for operational purposes with the Life Guards as the Household Cavalry Regiment in 1991. Instead of using their formal name of Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons, they are officially known by the nickname The Blues and Royals
  5. Nicknames – The Tin Bellies
  6. Distinction – They provided the two armored reconnaissance troops during the Falklands War of 1982

In addition to these facts above, there is a royal distinction to this particular regiment. William, Duke of Cambridge, and Harry, Prince of Wales joined the regiment as cornets in 2006.

Another royal tidbit: Prince Harry wore his Blues and Royals uniform to his brother’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

We’d Like to Know

Do you prefer the Life Guards or the Blues and Royals? Have you been to London to see these guards up close and personal? Do you know someone who has served in the British Army in any of these roles? Tell us your experience by logging into our website and posting your comments. Or you can tweet us at @BritWordaDay with your thoughts.

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British Royal Family and Their Sources of Income

Flag of the Duke of Lancaster

Have you ever wondered where the Royal Family derives their income? Many of these revenue streams have been in place for centuries. How they are currently administered has changed somewhat from their inception. For the most part, tradition has prevailed.

Basic Financial Terms

Let’s start with some basic financial terms to give context to the sources of royal revenue.

  • Crown Estate – is a large estate, worth billions, managed by an independent organization headed by a board. All its profits go to the Treasury.
  • Duchy – a Crown-holding entity, consisting of territory and assets that generate revenue for the Royal Family, primarily the reigning British Sovereign and the Prince of Wales.
  • Duchy of Cornwall – established in 1337 by King Edward III for his eldest son. It is given at once to the firstborn son of a reigning monarch. This duchy encompasses some 135,000 acres and provides the primary income for the Prince of Wales.
  • Duchy of Lancaster – established in 1351 by King Edward III for his younger son. Over 45,000 acres, it is the personal property of a reigning British monarch. The Privy Purse derives its revenues from this duchy.
  • Her Majesty’s Treasury – also known as the Exchequer or simply the Treasury, it is responsible for the British government’s financial and economic policy. It is headquartered in Westminster, London.
  • Privy Purse – land, property, and other assets of England and Wales belonging to the current reigning monarch. The majority of its revenue comes from the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Source Depends on the Title

The majority of the earnings for the Royal Family come from the Privy Purse. There is both public and private income for Her Majesty and as well as the Prince of Wales.

  • The Queen – Her Majesty has 3 main sources of income:
    • Privy Purse – belonging to The Queen, this purse is managed and run for her with all the net profits going to the Sovereign. This income is used for both personal and official expenses.
    • Private Income – money from her personal investment portfolio and inherited private estates, which includes Balmoral Castle and the Sandringham Estate. Her Majesty pays personal income tax on these sources of revenue.
    • Sovereign Grant – given to the Queen in a lump sum by the Treasury, funded by taxpayers, to carry out her official duties such as royal travel, communications and information, also the maintenance of the royal palaces (i.e., Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace) This further covers expenses such as garden parties and investitures (a knighthood, Orders of Chivalry, etc.). Though mostly public funds, approximately 15% of this grant comes from the profits of the Crown Estate.
  • Duke of Edinburgh – an annuity, granted by Parliament, of nearly £360,000, is paid to Prince Philip by the Treasury.
  • The Prince of Wales – Prince Charles, also known as the Duke of Cornwall, receives his own income from the Duchy of Cornwall, including a personal investment portfolio as well. He, too, pays income tax on his personal sources of revenue.
  • Royal Family – Living costs for those of the Royal Family, who carry out royal duties, is funded mainly by the Privy Purse from Duchy of Lancaster.

How Much is The Queen Worth?

The Queen is worth £340 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List of 2015. Even so, she is only the 302nd richest person in the country. Once upon a time, she was at the top of that list.

What Does it Cost Tax Payers?

The expenditures of the Royal Family, according to annual reports, are steep to be sure. Yet, when divided equally among the 64M residents of the UK, it works out to less than 60p per taxpayer.

Do You Think it’s Worth the Cost?

Many with republican political views would balk at the taxpayer’s expense to maintain the British monarchy. Others believe the PR value of the Royal Family is worth every penny. I myself could not imagine the United Kingdom without the institution, pageantry, and splendor of the British monarchy. It would utterly change the fabric of the UK as we know it. Do you think the Royal Family is worth the cost? Login and post your comments.


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