The Royal Scots Greys trace themselves back to 1678 when 3 Troops of mounted dragoons were raised in Northern Britain. The Regiment soon became known for its grey horses and the name stuck. Today the Regiment wear the grey beret as a tribute to “those terrible men on grey horses”, as described by Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Carabiniers were raised in 1685 (as two regiments which amalgamated in 1922) to suppress the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion. Their name derives from the short barrelled carbines that the troopers used to carry on horseback – which can be seen behind the eagle on the capbadge today.
The Eagle itself is an impression of the Imperial Eagle, carried by the French troops during the Napoleonic War. The Royal Scots Greys captured the Eagle of the 45th Regiment at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 (the eagle itself is still visible today at the Regimental Museum in Edinburgh Castle).
The Regiment and its antecedent regiments have served in every major war since the 17th Century including 3 tours of Afghanistan, 3 tours of Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Northern Ireland, World War 1 and 2, the Boer War, India, the Crimean War, the Napoleonic War and the War of Spanish Succession.
Another interesting fact about the Regiment, is that Tsar Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia was the Colonel in Chief of the Royal Scots Greys until his execution, by the Bolsheviks, in 1917. In mourning for his death the Regiment today wear a black felt backing behind their capbadge.