Yeomen of the Guard

Yeomen of the Guard, bodyguard, now ceremonial in function, of the sovereign of England. When the guard was originated by Henry VII in 1485, its members had numerous duties as defenders of the king's person and household functionaries. Until 1743 (the last time a British monarch appeared on the battlefield) they accompanied the king in battle. For a time purchased by civilians, positions in the corps were restricted in 1848 to veterans of the army and marines. Sometimes called the Beefeaters because of their fine physiques, the Yeomen of the Guard still wear the scarlet and gold uniform of the 15th cent. and carry halberds.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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