Livgarde and Livgardet in Reception

We’ve talked about the Swedish Livgardet and Danish Kongelige Livgarde a few different times over the years, as, well, they deserve it. Besides being historic frontline combat units with a long history, and their current dual-hatting as royal guards on public duties while training to fight if things go sideways, they just look great doing it.

Case in point, the Swedish Livgardet late last month fell in for a state reception for King Felipe VI of Spain, complete with their 6.5mm Carl Gustav-made Mausers and bearskin grenadiers helmets.

Likewise, the Danish Livgarde, complete with horse soldiers of the Gardehusarregiment, assembled for a state reception for new ambassadors to Copenhagen. Always nice to see the traditional hussar pelisse hanging over the shoulder of braided dolmans. Of note, the foot guards are in their scarlet gala tunics and bearskins rather than the more commonly seen black tunics. The red tunics are only for special occasions such as royal birthdays.

In other, related news, the British Army’s five regiments (actually just single battalions) of foot guards will continue to use bearskin grenadiers’ hats after testing found a synthetic replacement, proposed by animal rights wackos at PETA and urged on by Pam Anderson of all people, “didn’t meet the standards required.”

1st Battalion Irish Guards for a special St Patrick’s Day Parade today at their Barracks in Hounslow, 3.16.2017. MOD photo by Sgt. Rupert Frere.

Some 110 replacement ceremonial caps were purchased by the MOD in 2020 at a cost of £145,000, with the fur coming from Canada’s black bear cull surplus– in other words, pelts that would have been harvested regardless of the Guards. 

Some 14 nations still have bearskin caps in use for military dress uniforms, a practice picked up in most respects from Napoleon’s Old Guard. 

Grenadiers of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, by Hippolyte Bellangé, 1843

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