The Blues & Royals
This regiment was formed in 1969 by the amalgamation of the The Royal Horse Guards (the Blues) and the 1st Royal Dragoons. The Horse Guards trace their lineage to a regiment raised in 1650 by Oliver Cromwell. In 1651 they joined with the Earl of Oxford’s regiment, The Oxford Blues, whose blue uniform color the current regiment has retained.
The Blues & Royals have participated in every major war fought by the UK including both World Wars and, most recently, Desert Storm in 1991 and the current conflicts in SW Asia. Indeed their capture of the Regimental Eagle from the French 105th Infantry at the Battle of Waterloo is commemorated by a small embroidered eagle worn on the left uniform sleeve by all members of The Blues & Royals. (You can just make out the sleeve eagle on the Guardsman in this photo.)
In the photo above Stefan is posing with the “Box Man” from The Blues & Royals. The Box Man, in either the Foot Guards or the Household Cavalry, is the Guard who stands on duty at White Hall, Horse Guard Parade and Buckingham Palace in London. To be The Box Man is the most sought after duty by a Guardsman and only the best looking Guards and horses are selected for this duty. A Box Man spends one hour on post, or, on extremely cold days, one half hour.
Patience is a virtue for both Guardsman and horse as they deal with a seemingly unending stream of tourists, some of who are less than polite to the Guards. In the case of this photo, the horse seems to be asking, “Can I go now?”
There is a tradition that those wishing to give the Guardsman a “note of assignation”’ will place that note on the Foot Guard’s bayonet scabbard or inside the top of the Horse Guard’s boot.
So Stefan, did you slip the Guardsman a note?
The Guards - Britain's Household Division by Simon Dunstan c1995 ISBN: 1-85915-062-4
The Guards text by John de St. Jorre photos by Anthony Edgeworth c1981 ISBN: 059-54376-1