The King’s Guard

If you remember Walter Scott’s Quentin Durward, in that novel the French king had the Scotts guard him. This Scottish Guard has been augmented by the French archers who gradually became numerically superior to the Scotts and then completely replaced them. By the time of Louis XIV there was only some command vocabulary left traceable back to Scotland. The best elements from the line units were selected to serve in that guard. These were mostly noblemen, for the lowest-ranking guardsman was equivalent to a lieutenant.


These fifteen hundred guardsmen guarded Chateau Versailles at night; twenty out of them made the cuffguard, i.e. the bodyguard of the king, and as such participated in the most important ceremonies, including the burial of the king. In Versailles their barracks were located at the corner of Orangerie and Royal avenues. Their uniform colors were blue, red and white, but in spite of their uniform colors there were no revolutionaries among the King’s gardsmen; on the contrary, a good number of them had joined the counter-revolutionary movement.

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