Welcome to the official website of the Coldstream Guards. The Coldstream Guards was founded in 1650 as Monck’s Regiment of Foot and was part of Cromwell’s New Model Army. It became known as the Coldstream Guards in 1670, on the death of General Monck, its first Colonel. It is the oldest regiment in continuous existence in today’s modern British Army. Its motto is “Second to None” or “Nulli Secundus”.
The Regiment consists of a Regimental Headquarters, the 1st Battalion (a war-fighting light role infantry battalion), Number 7 Company (a ceremonial company), the Regimental Band (a world famous marching band), and the Regimental Association (the veterans organisation). The Coldstream Guards has been at the forefront of recent British military operations serving in both Iraq (2005) and in Afghanistan (2007, 2009-10 and 2014).
THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE REFURBISHED HOUGOUMONT FARM
On 17th June the opening ceremony took place at Hougoumont Farm, the scene of an heroic defence on the 18th June 1815, by the Light Companies of the 1st Guards, the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards and the 3rd Guards plus some assorted Nassauers, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James MacDonnell, Coldstream Guards.
Regimental Headquarters Coldstream Guards has been involved in the fundraising for the refurbishment in support of Project Hougoumont, a joint Belgian-UK effort, since 2013. Proceeds from band concerts, private donations and other sources of income, including a £1m donation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has enabled the fabulous and meticulous restoration to take place.
The Band of the Coldstream Guards, and a colour party provided by Number 7 Company, with the colours of the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards were present, at a ceremony attended by the HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Countess of Wessex, amongst many other dignitaries. An historic handshake took place between the descendants of the Duke of Wellington, Prince Blucher and Napolean Bonaparte in front of the newly refurbished North Gate. The small chapel, the only remaining part of the original chateau, has been completely restored and has a beautiful altar cross, made by the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards pioneers.
In addition to the Band and the Colour Parties, the Colonel of the Regiment headed up a party of about 80 Coldstream veterans and their wives and families, who were able to attend the event.
THE WATERLOO BALL IN BRUSSELS 2015
On June 15th 1815 the Duke of Wellington and his officers, their ladies and supporters attended a Ball in Brussels on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. At the same time, the Emperor Napoleon was crossing the frontier to the south of Brussels and marching on Charleroi, with his Armee du Nord, consisting of 120,000 French soldiers, many of whom were veterans of his European campaigns in the previous two decades. Napoleon’s war aim was to divide the Allied forces of Wellington and Blucher, and defeat them in turn. If he could knock the British out of the coalition, and seize Brussels, he could then turn his attention to the other Allied Armies forming on France’s eastern frontiers.
Wellington was receiving intelligence reports about the advance of the French Army, throughout the Ball, knowing that Napoleon had achieved strategic surprise, with his rapid advance northwards. He had a hastily assembled Allied Army, with a core of his British and Hanoverian Peninsula veterans, but also some not necessarily reliable Dutch/Belgian Allies and many inexperienced troops. So it was essential that he kept his Army within a day’s march of Blucher’s Prussian Army, knowing that together they could defeat the French, but it was unlikely they could do so alone. It seems strange to the modern observer that he should be attending such an event, with the cream of Brussels society, a gathering of diplomats, soldiers in their colourful uniforms and be-wigged aristocracy. However, it made good sense to go ahead with the Ball, for two reasons. It was important that Wellington was seen to be in control of events and calm, and the Ball was a gathering place for allied diplomats and local
aristocracy who would report his demeanor widely. He needed to maintain the confidence of his Allies. And equally important, he needed to issue urgent orders to all his top generals, who were at the Ball. The Ball took place in a hired coach house and was hosted by the Duchess of Richmond, a society hostess, aged 47 and the mother of seven sons and seven daughters.
Two hundred years later, in virtually the same location, with representatives from most of the Waterloo regiments, a similar sized Ball took place. The Band of the Coldstream Guards provided the music, including Scottish reels, provided by the Pipes of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards. About 80 Coldstreamers both serving and retired, with their partners attended the Ball.