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Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)

Last updated: 30 June 2014

Officers’ cap badge, The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), 1910Officers’ cap badge, The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), 1910
NAM. 1992-02-76

Introduction

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.

Colonel Sir Robert Douglas and The Royal Scots at the Battle of Steenkirk,1692Colonel Sir Robert Douglas and The Royal Scots at the Battle of Steenkirk,1692
Watercolour by Richard Simkin, c1900
NAM. 1959-09-71

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 2006 it merged with five other Scottish regiments to form The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Key facts

Motto:

  • 'Nemo Me Impune Lacessit' (meaning 'No One Attacks Me With Impunity')

Nickname:

  • Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard (the regiment claimed it was so old that it was descended from the personal bodyguard of Pontius Pilate in 33 AD)

Titles to date:

  • Royal Regiment of Foot
  • His Majesty's Royal Regiment of Foot
  • 1st (Royal) Regiment of Foot
  • 1st Regiment of Foot (Royal Scots)
  • The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)
  • The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)
  • The Royal Scots Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland

Find out more

Regimental Museum

Regimental Merchandise

National Army Museum Collection

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