Last updated: 10 December 2013
The Royal Scots was the oldest line-infantry regiment in the British Army. It was formed in 1633 as the Royal Regiment of Foot for the Scottish coronation of King Charles I, using the survivors from John Hepburn’s Regiment, which had been formed in 1625 and served in Denmark and Sweden.
The new regiment was immediately deployed with the armies of Louis XIII and Louis XIV of France, where it absorbed other Scottish troops originally sent to fight in Sweden. Though it officially remained a regiment of the Crown, its deployment to France lasted 27 years and so it was absent from England during the Civil War.
The regiment returned to Britain on King Charles II’s restoration (1660) and soon afterwards was first ranked as the 1st Regiment of Foot. It then alternated between English and French service until 1678, when it was definitively returned to the English establishment, receiving the title His Majesty’s Royal Regiment of Foot in 1684.
The first battle honour awarded to the regiment was Tangier 1680, after which a further 148 were gained in a history that involved the unit in almost every campaign the British Army fought.
In 1881 the regiment became The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), as the county regiment for Mid, East and West Lothian. During the First World War more than 30 battalions of The Royal Scots were raised and over 100,000 men passed through the regiment. In 2004 it merged with The King’s Own Scottish Borderers to become the 1st Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland.