Spanish Flags In The Napoleonic Wars: The Royal Guard (Guardia Real)
Editor's Note: Luis Sorando Muzás works as the flag expert at
the Spanish Army Museum in Madrid, where among other things, he catalogs
Spanish flags and trophies. He recently wrote a book Banderas, estandartes
y trofeos del Museo del Ejército 1700-1843, Catálogo razonado which
was published by the Minstry of Defense in 2001. It is 206 pages long
comes with a compac disk with about 1,200 color photos of flags and
700 pages of text describing the flags, their history, etc. Over 200
of the flags are from the Napoleonic Era! The book cost 18 Euros in
Spain and its ISBN is: 84-7823-812-3
Compañía de Reales Guardias Alabarderos (Company of Royal Alabardiers Guards): this unit was never issued a flag.
Reales Guardias Españolas (Regiment of the Royal Spanish Guards): This regiment was raised in 1704 and was composed of 3 battalions. Initially, each company had their own flag. In 1728, the regiment only carried three flags on campaign. In 1762, the number was set at two flags for the regiment while on campaign and after the reforms of 1802, only one flag was carried.
The flag of the first battalion were called "Coronela" and it was always purple, sewn with golden fleur-de-lis and with a great castle of the same metal in the center. On the reverse of the flag was the same emblem, but a mirror image of the emblem on the obverse. None of these flags are known to exist today.
The other two battalions carried flags that were known as "sencilla" or "de ordenanza". These flags were white, and approximately 1.5 meters x 1.5 meters. Beginning in 1762, these flags had the Royal Arms in the center, on the crossing of the red cross of Borgoña whose ends were capped with royal crowns. Along the edges were two large lions supporting the Royal Arms.
Reales Guardias Walonas (Regiment of the Royal Walloon Guards): This regiment consisted of 3 battalions, and initially, like the Royal Spanish Guards, each company had a flag. These were reduced to 1 flag per battalion while on campaign.
Their “Coronela” was white, identical to the "sencilla" of the Spanish Guards but embroidered with more wealth. The "sencillas" also had the same design as the Spanish Guards, but the cloth was blue.
Reales Guardias de Corps (Royal Guards of Corps): The Guard of Corps consisted of four companies. Each company had two standards. The standards were identical for all companies, but each company had a unique color. The First Company’s color was red, the Second’s green, and the Third’s yellow.
In the center of the flag was the emblem of the Corps. It was embroidered on both sides with a radiant sun, dissipating some clouds on the sea, furrowed by two sailing ships, and the motto SOLVIT FORMIDINE TERRAS, surrounded by decorations of silver leaves. The flag had silver fringes. On the reverse of the flag was the same emblem.
Beginning in 1810, only the red flag was used.
Brigada de Carabineros Reales (Royal Carabiniers Brigade): The Royal Carabiniers Brigade had 4 standards: one white and three blue ones. All standards had the Royal Arms embroidered on both sides, surrounded by decorations of silver leaves. On the reverse of the flag was the same emblem, but a mirror image of the emblem on the obverse. The flag had silver fringes.
Placed on the Napoleon Series: February 2002
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