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The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (RSDG) were formed at Holyroodhouse in 1971 from two armoured regiments: the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales's Dragoon Guards) and the Royal Scots Greys. The 3rd Carabiniers were created in 1922 with the union of the 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Carabiniers (6th Dragoon Guards), both raised in 1685. The Greys, however, had a clear line of descent from 1681 when independent companies of Scottish dragoons, formed three years before to police the militant Covenanters, were made into a regiment.
The name Scots Greys initially came from Hodden grey coats worn by the Scotch Dragoons, but it later related to the grey horses that were procured for the regiment from 1690. It was in this year that the Queen Dowager's Horse gained their honour title at the Battle of the Boyne. William III dubbed the regiment Ring's Carbineers after the continental system of naming outstanding regiments from their arms, in this case the carbine.
The RSDG is Scotland's armoured regiment, with its headquarters at Edinburgh.
The band of the blue peaked cap is uniquely patterned with a yellow zigzag vandyke, the regimental mark of the Greys in the facing colour of the RSDG. Forage caps of the Scots Greys were bound with a vandyke from 1800, recorded in 1840 as being in gold for officers, white for other ranks and yellow for musicians.
A sergeant of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, c. 1905
The RSDG badge, an imperial eagle on crossed carbines, combines the Greys' Waterloo eagle (a replica of the regimental eagle of the French 45th taken in the battle) with carbines extracted from the badge of the 6th Dragoon Guards, adopted unofficially in 1826 with the Carabiniers' title. RSDG buttons carry this badge, though officers wear buttons with a thistle emblem.
The Prince of Wales's crest is worn today on the upper left sleeve to commemorate the 3rd Dragoon Guards, who bore the device from 1765 when they were honoured as the Prince of Wales's Dragoon Guards on the third birthday of the infant prince. Berets and pullovers are grey in this regiment, items of dress inherited from the Scots Greys. Stable belts are blue with adjacent stripes of grey/yellow/red.
Musicians of the RSDG band, c. 1990. The bearskin has a crimson plume
RSDG full dress, provided for drummers and honour guards mounted on greys, is reminiscent of the Scots Greys' uniform. The bearskin, with its Horse of Hanover emblem on the back, is worn with a white plume out of a brass grenade socket or a long crimson plume for trumpeters. It was Queen Anne who authorised the wearing of grenadier caps by the Greys in 1706, following their defeat of three French grenadier regiments at the Battle of Ramillies. The caps evolved to bearskins around 1788, a thistle badge within the circle of St Andrew on the front plate and the Hanover Horse on the back a distinction dropped by the officers around 1800. The bearskins developed full and tall after the Napoleonic Wars, with the long crimson plume across the top for musicians from 1830. A white bearskin, assigned to the kettle drummer between 1887 and 1897, and again from 1937, was thought to have been a gift from the Czar of Russia, Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Greys until his death in 1917.