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History

King Charles II restored not only Monarchy to England but patronage of the arts, not least by laying the foundations of the Grenadier Guards Band when he commissioned 12 hautbois (early oboe) players to the First Regiment of Foot Guards in 1685. The Regiment was to become known as the Grenadier Guards after their victory on the battle field at Waterloo.

The return of the king and his court from exile on the Continent sounded the death knell for the Puritanical severity of Cromwell. The arts exploded into London under the court's continental influence. Charles's decision to maintain musicians in his Foot Guards regiment was also a reflection of this, and some of his musicians would have come from Germany where the Hautboisistenbande had originated 20 years earlier.
The Grenadier Guards Band has been filling the streets of London with music and colour for over three centuries, a truly historic sound and sight. It is symbolic and emblematic of London and our nation's history. The Band has served 15 monarchs over 325 years with dedication and pride. It has been present at all the major royal occasions: births, coronations, weddings and funerals.

The Band has been a witness to all London's key historic events both tragic and joyful. It raised morale during the darkest hours of the second world war and its uplifting music ushered in a new beginning at the Coronation of our present Queen.

Throughout its long history the Band has travelled abroad frequently. The first recorded visit was in 1701 when William III took three hautbois from the regiment with him on his visit to the Netherlands. Subsequent visits included Paris in 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo, Boston in 1872 and more recently Australia, the United States of America and Canada. There have also been performances in most countries in Western Europe.

The British Grenadiers march is one of the most recognizable and memorable tunes in the world, part of our musical heritage. One of the band's admirers during the 18th century was George Fredrick Handel. He demonstrated his admiration by presenting the march from Scipio to the regiment before he included it in his opera of that name when it was first performed in 1726. George II gave Handel the task of scoring the Music for the Royal Fireworks, most commonly performed with strings, for the King's own musicians who were wind players from his foot guards. Handel would have undoubtedly come into contact with musicians from the Grenadier Guards, during the first performance at Vauxhall Gardens in 1749.

Throughout Britain's history the music of the Grenadier Guards has been the backdrop to our national life and identity. It represents our constancy, dignity and artistry.

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