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The Band of The Life Guards
The Band of The Blues And Royals
The Massed Band
The Trumpeters
Order of Dress - Musicians
Order of Dress - Trumpeters
The Musical Ride
Regimental Marches
Drum Banners
Trumpet Banners


Directors of Music for Bands of The Life Guards and The Blues And Royals
are appointed by the Directorate, Corps of Army Music.

Each Director of Music is assisted by a Bandmaster (WO1),
a Band Corporal Major (WO2), and a Trumpet-Major.

The (WO1) Bandmaster deputises on all occasions when
the Director of Music is absent.

Traditionally the Band of the Regiment of Household Cavalry
serving abroad was located and stationed for all purposes to the
Headquarters of the Household Cavalry Regiment, in London.

The Band of the Regiment of Household Cavalry stationed at Windsor
was located and stationed for all purposes with that Regiment.

Since the union, the Bands have adopted a system whereby one is
stationed in London for five years, while the other is stationed in Windsor.
At the end of each five-year tour, the Bands change places.

The Trumpet-Majors maintain the Roll of Trumpeters.

It is the responsibility of the Directors of Music to provide Trumpeters
to the Sabre Squadrons, for duty on Queen's Life Guard.

Household Cavalry Bands comprise approximately 35 Musicians each
- however, there is no mandatory instrumentation or size for Bands,
when deployed for various events.

Depending on the engagement, Directors of Music select a
well-balanced combination of instruments in relation to
the music required, the duration of the function and,
in the case of mounted work, the availability of horses.

The information provided below is based on Band composition
and strengths as in 2006.

The Massed Band Of
The Household Cavalry

From time to time, the Regimental Bands - of The Life Guards,
and of The Blues and Royals - come together, mounted or dismounted,
to form a Massed Band.

They are especially noted for their high standard of musicianship
and horsemanship, and are required to play in unison - whether
stationary or on the move - while controlling the horse with only the feet
(the Drummer using legs and waist).

They play as a massed band on parades such as Trooping Of The Colour,
for the Presentation Of New Standards, and when Beating The Retreat.

They also come together for the Combined Cavalry Memorial Parade
each May, for which they are joined by musicians from other
Royal Armoured Corps bands - on this occasion, dismounted.

The composition of each Band (The Life Guards Band and the
Band of The Blues And Royals) invariably gives it a unique sound,
but this takes on a new dimension when the two Bands combine
- whether mounted or dismounted.

Elsewhere in these pages are schematic diagrams illustrating
the formations of each Band, when mounted or on foot.

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HC Bands On Horse Guards Parade

Massed Band of The Household Cavalry

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The Band Of The Life Guards

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The history of The Life Guards began in 1659, at the court of
the exiled King Charles II in Holland.

A number of loyal gentlemen, led by Lord Gerrard of Brandon,
formed themselves into The King's Life Guard.

This duty has been carried on through the centuries by
the Household Cavalry, and is symbolised today by
The Guard Mounting Ceremony at Horse Guards, Whitehall.

29 May 1660 will always remain a great day in the annals of
the Band's history for it is recorded that, at the public entry of
King Charles II into London, he was escorted by three troops of Life Guards,
preceded by Kettledrummers and Trumpeters.

This proud occasion began the history of the Band. At the time,
only "privileged people" were allowed to possess Kettledrums and Trumpets
- of the Household troops, only The Life Guards and The Royal Horse Guards
were granted the privilege.

The musicians held warrants of appointment from the King,
and were paid at the rate of five shillings per day.

In the year 1678, they wore uniforms of velvet, laced with silver,
their instruments having richly embroidered and trimmed banners,
with the whole cost defrayed by the King.

This is the origin of the present day State Dress worn by the Band
and Trumpeters - which consists of a heavily embroidered gold tunic,
with a dark blue jockey cap buckskin riding breeches, and thigh-length boots.

This is the oldest ceremonial uniform in the regular army, and can only be worn
by permission of the Monarch, or at the request of the Lord Mayor of London.

In 1685, the Trumpeters of The Life Guards were ordered to wear a red plume
on their helmets instead of the white plume, and were also
mounted on grey horses.

Today the Band ride black horses, the Drummer by tradition riding
a piebald or skewbald horse.

The Drum horses are named after Classical Greek Heroes, and carry
solid silver Kettledrums, which weigh 80 lbs each, and which were presented
to the 2nd Life Guards, in Home Park, by HM King William IV on 6 May of 1831.

The 1st Life Guards were presented with identical silver drums in Home Park
on 23 July 1831. The drums of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards cost 1,000 guineas
per pair at the time, and are of pure silver. Each pair weighs 118 lbs (which is
equivalent to 53 kgs).

LG Silver Kettle Drums

The first record of the Band establishment was about 1795,
and later in the Royal United Services Journal for June 1831,
referring to the mounted Band of The Life Guards, it says:
After saluting and marching past the King, "God Save The King" was played
on the Russian Chromatic Trumpets used by the Band at that time.

The instruments had only one valve and were the forerunner of the
three-valve trumpet in use today.

Traditionally (until comparatively recently), a Trumpeter from the Band
was on duty 24 hours a day to sound the same calls that were played
when the Regiment was first formed.

Every person in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment was expected
to know the calls, and the times they should be sounded.

From 1820 to 1905, the Band was under the direction of Bandmasters
(Warrant Officers) - from 1905 the Senior Bandmaster of the
three Household Cavalry Regiments was commissioned Lieutenant to the
Second Regiment of Life Guards, and was their first Director of Music.

Today, the Band has nearly three dozen musicians, and within its ranks
there are many fine soloists. Most of the members play two instruments
and have a very varied repertoire from Bach through to music from
the latest West End shows.

LG Dance Band

Dance Band of The Life Guards

They perform in the top West End hotels as a cabaret and
display marching band, a dance ensemble, or rock band.

The Band can also supply a String Quartet, or Brass Quintet,
in addition to a very spectacular fanfare team, and are constantly
in demand at home and abroad.

LG Brass Quintet

Brass Quintet - Musicians of The Band of The Life Guards

Musicians are drawn from academies, famous brass bands, and from
technical colleges. Following a successful audition by the Director of Music,
they are sent to ATR Pirbright (for Phase 1 training), then to Kneller Hall
(for Phase 2 training), and then go on to an equitation course
at Hyde Park Barracks.

They also receive training to equip them as CBRN Decontamination Area
staff, for their operational role in the event of war or national emergencies,
such as the Gulf War, and many hold military driving licences.

LG Concert Band

Concert Band of The Life Guards

The Band is always very busy performing at the many State functions,
and giving concerts throughout the length and breadth of the country.

The State occasions include playing for the Royal Family during dinners,
presentation ceremonies, investitures, and garden parties at
Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

LG Orchestra

Orchestra - Musicians of The Life Guards Band

The Band has travelled widely and has performed in the Far East,
the United States of America, and most of Europe, with several trips
to Berlin to take part in the famous Berlin Military Tattoo,
both as a mounted band and also dismounted.

LG Woodwind Quintet

Woodwind Quintet - Musicians of The Band of The Life Guards

The Trumpeters also sound many fanfares at important State and
Civic functions. They played at all the major ceremonies during
Her Majesty The Queen's Silver Jubilee and Golden Jubilee Years.

They have performed in many countries as far apart as Australia, Iran,
Canada, USA, Japan, and most countries in Europe and Scandinavia.

The Regimental Quick March of The Life Guards is Milanollo
(written in 1845 by Johan Valentin Hamm, a German composer),
and the Regimental Slow March is The Life Guards (Duchess of Kent).

The Regimental motto is Honi soit qui mal y pense (evil to him who thinks evil).

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The Band Of The Blues And Royals

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The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) appear to have employed
Kettledrummers and Trumpeters right from the outset (early 1660s),
with distinctive uniforms not unlike the state dress of today.

On 23 April 1805, King George III presented the Regiment with a set of solid
silver Kettledrums - as testimony to their honourable and military conduct
on all occasions - he was also responsible at the time for the formation of
The Blues' first band. This was witnessed at the time by the appointment of
what would appear to be the first recorded Bandmaster for the Regiment.

The Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons) - although at the time (around 1661)
they were known as The Tangier Horse - are also on record as having
had three Trumpeters, whose main functions were to communicate
routine message calls, and the many orders in camp.

RHG/D Silver Kettle Drum

The solid silver Kettledrums (presented by King George III) continue
to be used today, and can be seen carried by the Drum Horse,
and played by the mounted drummer on The Queen's Birthday Parade
on Horse Guards.

The Blues and Royals Band (as they have now become) are possibly
best known for playing mounted, but they also travel extensively
in this country and overseas, providing music in many combinations
from cabaret and marching bands, to orchestra and a dance group.

When playing in their royal blue uniforms, the uniform is still that
as worn by The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues), but with the addition
(since amalgamation in 1969) of an embroidered eagle
(symbol of The Royal Dragoons).

The State Trumpeters are also musicians from within the band, but
- when in the presence of the Royal Family - they wear the gold
state coats bearing the royal insignia, and the usual helmet and plume
is replaced by a blue velvet jockey cap.

This form of dress has remained virtually unchanged for over
three centuries, and the State Trumpeters perform at all great
State occasions, and ceremonial events - notably providing a
Fanfare Team dismounted, for such occasions as the State Opening of Parliament,
The Lord Mayor's Banquet, and banquets held for visiting Heads of State.

The Regiment merged in 1969, and their Regimental Marches are a
combination of the slow marches of The Royal Horse Guards and
The Royal Dragoons, and the Regimental quick march
is a combination of Aida and The Royals.

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The Trumpeters

At the very beginning of the Standing Army - that is, in the
mid 17th century - trumpeters were chosen for having an acceptable
manner, the ability to carry messages and to parley with the enemy,
and to act as special orderlies to Generals. They were non-combatants,
and carried swords with broken-off blades.

LG Trumpeters In State Kit

Trumpeters of The Life Guards in State Dress

The trumpet was regarded in the Middle Ages as the symbol of nobility,
and European princes forbade the use of a trumpet below a certain
social rank. A prince with his retinue, approaching a fortified city,
would herald his approach at the gates with a fanfare of trumpets.

Knights riding into the field of battle - or a tournament - had their entry
signalled by their own trumpeter; the trumpet tunes played a
sort of Medieval signature tune for VIPs.

The present Household Cavalry was raised when King Charles II was
restored to the throne in 1660. The Household Cavalry, bodyguard of
the Sovereigns of Britain, had trumpeters and kettledrummers in the
ranks from the earliest times, but the present-day trumpeters are
dressed in the self-same manner as the trumpeters of King Charles II.

Their uniform has only been altered once in 300 years when, in the late
18th century, cocked hats replaced the 'Jockey Caps' of King Charles.

The Jockey Cap came into its own again in the 19th century. The Newmarket
jockeys of King Charles were dressed in long, gold coats, top boots,
d and jockey caps - exactly as his trumpeters.

On the march, King Charles' Household Cavalry were roused by
the strains of five Kettledrummers and twelve Trumpeters
(who played by ear), and this must have been the body
of Musicians which the 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys
once listened to in Whitehall. He was not impressed!

LG State Trumpeters

Trumpeters of The Life Guards

In the days of slave-traders, a number of fashionable societies
in England employed Negro pages, and it became common also
for cavalry Regiments to have Negro trumpeters. The King's Life Guard
had a succession of Negro trumpeters, chosen for their physique and
stature, and they were splendidly attired. They also wore a silver chain
with a disc around their necks - on the disc was their name,
and the name of their 'owner'.

RHG/D State Trumpeters

Trumpeters of The Blues And Royals

At the battle of Dettingen (in 1743), immediately before the British
charged and routed the French Household Cavalry, the trumpeters
of The Life Guards - on their own initiative, and doubtless in a burst
of patriotic fervour - sounded the tune Britons Strike Home.

The trumpet on which the order 'To Charge' was given at the battle
of Waterloo, in 1815, is still kept in The Household Cavalry Museum.

King Charles' Trumpeters were paid 2 shillings and 8 pence per day.

The Silver State Trumpets of today are pitched in 'E Flat' and are valveless
- this limits the number of notes used, and consequently handicaps
the composer in writing new fanfares.

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The Household Cavalry Musical Ride

The Musical Ride has been a part of the public face of the Household Cavalry
for many years. It first performed at The Royal Tournament in 1882.

For more information, and some images of the Musical Ride in action,
click on the link hereunder.

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The Bands - Orders of Dress


The Life Guards wear white plumes,
and The Blues And Royals wear red plumes.

State Cloaks

Both The Life Guards and The Blues And Royals wear State Cloaks
when cloaking is ordered in State Dress.

The Life Guards wear Regimental cloaks on all other occasions
when cloaking is ordered.The Blues And Royals wear State Cloaks in Mounted
and Dismounted Review Order.

The Life Guards wear Regimental cloaks in Mounted
and Dismounted Review Order - unless massed with
The Blues And Royals, when both bands wear State Cloaks.

Blue and Red Capes

Blue or Red Capes may be worn at the discretion of the
Directors of Music, in cold or wet weather.

On no account are capes to be worn with State Dress, or when mounted.

If helmets and plumes are worn, capes may only be worn if they will
not interfere with the musical efficiency of the band.


These are not worn except by Directors of Music and Trumpeters.


These are not worn by bands.
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Trumpeters - Orders of Dress


All Trumpeters wear red plumes, except that the Trumpeters of
The Life Guards on parade as musicians with their own band
wear white plumes to conform.

State Cloaks

On The Queen's Life Guard, the Trumpeters of
The Blues And Royals wear a State Cloak.

Blue and Red Capes

When on duty with the bands, the same rule applies as for bands.
However, when on duty with an Escort or Guard, the appropriate cloak
- and not a Blue or Red Cape - is to be worn.


These are worn in State Dress, and Mounted Review Order.

Horse Furniture

The horse furniture of Trumpeters of The Life Guards
is to include "Beards".

Sheep Skins

The bands of both Regiments have black sheep skins.


These are not worn by Trumpeters.
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Trumpet Banners

The design of these banners has only slightly changed since the reign of
Charles II (1660-1685). They always bear the Royal Arms Badge of the
King or Queen, and his or her Cipher (initials).

The Trumpet Banner is of crimson damask, edged with a gold thread fringe.
It is embroidered with gold and silver wire, and appropriate
coloured silks for the Royal Arms.

HC  Trumpet Banner

Made in two parts, each is backed with dark blue silk.
The Banner is 16 inches deep x 20 inches wide.
It is attached to the silver Trumpet by leather straps.


Drum Banners

LG Silver Kettle Drum & Banner

Banner on Kettledrum of The Life Guards

The design of these banners has only slightly changed since the reign of
Charles II (1660-1685). They always bear the Royal Arms Badge of the
King or Queen, and his or her Cipher (initials).

The Drum Banner is of crimson damask, edged with a gold thread fringe.
It is embroidered with gold and silver wire, and appropriate
coloured silks for the Royal Arms.

Drum Banner

The backing is of dark blue cloth.
The Banner is 24 inches deep x 48 inches wide.
It is attached to the drum by leather straps.

Regimental Marches

The Life Guards

The Regimental Quick Marches are:
(a) Milanollo, and (b) Men Of Harlech

The Regimental Slow Marches are:
(a) The Life Guards Slow March, and (b) Men Of Harlech

The Blues And Royals

The Regimental Quick Marches are:
(a) Grand March from Aida, and (b) The Royals

The Regimental Slow March is The Slow March of The Blues And Royals

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