The iconic bearskin hats worn by the Queen's guards for more than 200 years are facing a threat from from Brexit deals as activists push to ban fur sales. That's also when their uniforms picked up the now-iconic bearskin hats. Some of Napoleon's most elite troops and diehard supporters were the French Imperial Guard. The present Royal Escort Unit wears the pre–1914 full dress uniform of the defunct Gendarmerie, including its bearskin cap. As its name suggests, this is the series of conflicts fought between Imperial France, led by Napoleon and his various allies against the United Kingdom and the Coalitions it formed to counter the rise of the little emperor. Britain adopted the bearskin in 1768 to distinguish their grenadiers on the battlefield and in military parades. The Economic History of the Fur Trade: 1670 to 1870. In addition to the Governor's Guard, bearskin caps are also worn by the drum majors of various United States Armed Forces military bands. Qualification: In the Queen’s Guard for six years. Durin… The practice fell into disuse until the second half of the eighteenth century when grenadiers in the British, Spanish and French armies began wearing high fur hats with cloth tops and, sometimes, ornamental front plates. The cap that was marketed to young boys was a simplified version and was usually made of faux fur with a raccoon tail attached. The black-hatted redcoats who guard royal residences in London and beyond, including Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, are the Queen's Guard. The Uruguayan Army's Company of Sappers of 1837 uses the bearskin cap as a part of its ceremonial uniform as the protocolar guard of the Uruguayan Supreme Court. Bearskin hats are made from the skin of American black bears, taken annually during the Black Bear Cull in Canada. [15], Presently, one unit of the Royal Netherlands Army uses the bearskin cap as a part of its ceremonial uniform, the Grenadiers' and Rifles Guard Regiment.[7]. These were troops that had been with Napoleon from the very beginning and were with him to retake power when l'empereur returned from exile on Elba. The cloth caps worn by the original grenadiers in European armies during the 17th century were frequently trimmed with fur. "[25], Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has protested against the continued use of real fur for the guards’ hats, alleging that the animals are killed cruelly. A bearskin is a tall fur cap, usually worn as part of a ceremonial military uniform. The pith helmets are used with the unit's ceremonial uniform, for occasions including the Thai Royal Guards parade held every year in December. While you might think it's fun to get in their way and try to make them laugh, the reality is these guys will straight up break you if it comes down to it. The must-read London articles. In addition, the Royal Security Command's two guards regiments wear the pith helmet with their full dress. As opposed to real bearskin, the bearskin caps of both regiments uses artificial fur. As for the history of the hats themselves, see: Or getting in their way like this: It is highly likely that those guns are loaded (though the army won’t confirm or deny such a thing). You know the ones — silent and unsmiling. An entire skin is used for each hat. Presently, the Pipes and Drums Band of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment is authorized to wear a bearskin cap as a part of its ceremonial dress.[5][6]. Fusilier regiments and the Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) also place their unit's cap badge at the front of the bearskin. They are called Bearskin Hats. The following is a list of regiments whose members are authorized to wear a bearskin cap with their full dress uniform, along with the colour used on the unit's plume: Additionally, the military band of a unit that is authorized to wear the bearskin cap are also allowed to wear it as a part of their ceremonial uniform. All material on this site is the property of Londonist Ltd. Are The Queen's Guard's 'Bearskin' Hats Really Made Of Bearskin. The hatmakers purchase between 50 and 100 black bear skins each year at a cost of about £650 each.