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The Coldstream was formed in 1650 as Monck's Regiment, with companies drawn from Heselrigge's at Newcastle and Fenwick's at Berwick.
Coldstream in guard order, 1912. Note the regimental spacing of the tunic buttons and the lance sergeant's regimental cap
In 1660 George Monck marched his regiment from the Scottish border town of Coldstream to London in order to restore law and order that had suffered after the death of Cromwell. Londoners knew them by their town of origin - 'The Coldstreamers'. Early in 1661 the regiment was paraded on Tower Hill and formally disbanded as a parliamentarian regiment, but promptly re-engaged in the service of Charles II as the Lord General's Regiment of Foote Guards, though it continued for many years after purged of royalists. Even today it is the only one of the seven Guards regiments whose colonel has no royal title. After the death of Monck in 1670 the regiment's nickname was invoked and they were officially given as the 2nd or Coldstream Regiment of Foote Guards.
2nd or Coldstream Guards re-enactment society in the dress of the 1770s, when the regiment served in the American War of Independence
Armed with the knowledge that the 1st Foot Guards had actually been raised after them, the Coldstream never really accepted their 2nd Guards status, and in 1783 a group of officers formed the Nulli Secundus Club to highlight the fact that they were 'second to none'. By 1817 the 2nd Guards title was dropped and the terms Coldstream, Coldstreamers, 'Coleys' (but never 'Coldstreams'), were used thereafter.
The Guards' blue peaked cap has been regimentalised with a white band and welt since the 1860s. Its badge is the Star of the Order of the Garter, bestowed on the regiment by William III in 1696. The officers' 'cap star' is in the old elongated form with the cross of St George in red.
Buttons are worn in pairs in this regiment to conform with the Foot Guards' code of seniority first displayed on the red coat around 1770, when the Coldstream was still listed as the 2nd Guards.
Full dress is Foot Guards' pattern, the bearskin with a scarlet plume on the right side to contrast with those of the Grenadiers. A Tudor rose emblem, first worn on the bearskin adopted in 1832, was later transferred to shoulder straps on the scarlet tunic. The senior NCOs' colour badge, worn on the right sleeve, shows the elongated star and the sphinx campaign honour.
The quick march Milanollo, authorised to the Coldstream in 1882, is named after two violinist sisters who toured Europe in the 1840s. The slow march, Figaro, was adopted in 1805 from Mozart's opera of the same name.
The Band of the Coldstream Guards dates from about 1770.
Coldstream customs stem from early service. St George's Day celebrates the Garter Star badge with its cross of St George; recruiting is done in the areas through which Monck's Regiment marched on their way to London in 1660 - the north-east and the Midlands, and in Brigade Order it is said the Coldstream preferred not to parade second to the Grenadier Guards but opted for the other places of honour, left of the line or rear on the march.
A 'Scotch Regiment of foote Guards' was raised on a commission of Charles I in 1642, but after the defeat of his son at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, it was dispersed by Cromwell and not rebuilt again for another nine years.
The first companies of Scotch Guards, raised in 1660 to guard the castles at Edinburgh and Dumbarton, were accepted onto the English establishment by James II in 1686, subordinate to the 1st and 2nd Guards. In spite of efforts made by Queen Anne to get the Scots' long history recognised in the hierarchy of the Foot Guards they were finally placed as the 3rd Guards in 1713, the 'kiddies' of the brigade.
In 1831 bearskins were issued and the regiment was forced to adopt the title Scots Fusilier Guards as a reason to wear them, but in 1877 the name was simplified to the Scots Guards (SG).
The Guards' blue peaked cap is distinguished with a red, white and blue diced band and a red welt around the crown. Officers have a gold welt. The cap badge is the Star of the Order of the Thistle.
Full dress is Foot Guards' pattern, the bearskin with no plume, originally a statement on the regiment's standing in the Foot Guards (junior of the three and therefore centre of the line, not a flank regiment like the other two). The scarlet tunic has a white thistle collar badge and buttons set in groups of three, in accordance with the Foot Guards seniority custom. The senior NCOs' colour badge depicts the star badge and the sphinx awarded to the regiment in 1802 for its part in the Egyptian campaign of the previous year.