Last updated: 13 February 2014
The regiment was raised in Hertfordshire in 1715, in the midst of the First Jacobite Rebellion, but remained in England until it was sent to Scotland to face the second such rebellion 30 years later. It then returned to England, where it remained until deploying to Germany in 1759 for the Seven Years War.
It fought at Warburg in 1760, but then returned to England for another long period. However, this era included several important events in the regiment’s history. In 1783 King George III ordered it to switch from dragoons to light dragoons and renamed it after his eldest son the Prince of Wales, who became its colonel in 1796. Impressed by the colourful uniforms of the French and Allied cavalry, the Prince of Wales renamed, re-clothed and re-equipped the regiment as Britain’s first ever hussar unit in 1806 and remained its colonel until his coronation as King George IV in 1820.
In 1808 the regiment sailed for the Peninsula, where it was used to screen Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna (1809). During that operation it captured 100 French cavalry on Christmas Day, as well as fighting at Benavente, where Private Grisdall of the regiment captured General Lefebvre-Desnoettes, the French cavalry’s commander-in-chief. It was evacuated with the rest of the army in January 1809 and only returned to the Peninsula in 1813, fighting its way into France.
It fought in the Waterloo campaign of 1815, where one of its patrols brought Wellington news of the Prussian retreat at Wavre, and then joined the Army of Occupation in Paris for a year. It then spent 30 years in England, with the exception of two squadrons which were sent to Portugal in 1826.
From 1846 to 1855 the regiment was in India, from which it was shipped to the Crimean War (1854-56). It then returned to Britain, introducing the Indian sport polo there and winning the first ever inter-regimental polo match in 1871.
Like most regiments, the rest of its 19th century was spent alternating between Britain and India. In the latter it fought in the Second Afghan War and the 1909 North-West Frontier campaign. On one voyage back from India to England, in 1884, it was diverted to fight in the Sudan.
This period also saw the regiment gain another Prince of Wales as its colonel, this time the 22-year-old future King Edward VII in 1863. He remained its colonel until his coronation. Edward also later became the regiment’s colonel-in-chief in 1898, a role later filled by his son George V in 1910.
In 1897 the regiment took part in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee parade and two years later deployed to South Africa for five years. It then deployed from India to the Western Front in 1914, remaining there throughout the First World War. The regiment then served in Ireland in 1919 on peacekeeping duties.
A brief spell in Egypt and India came from 1929 to 1936, after which it returned to England to mechanise. It lost all its vehicles during the evacuation from France in June 1940, but was re-equipped with Crusader tanks in time to redeploy to North Africa in November 1941. There it captured General Rommel’s deputy von Thoma at El Alamein in 1942.
It spent the last two years of the war on the Italian front and spent much of the post-war period on occupation duties in Trieste, Austria and Germany. This was interrupted by brief deployments to Aqaba in Jordan in 1956 and Aden in 1964.
|The King's Royal Hussars|
|The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)|
|14th/20th King's Hussars|
|10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)|
|11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own)|
|14th King's Hussars|