The Grenadier Guards known as the Royal Regiment of Guards, was formed in 1656 by King Charles II who was then in exile in Bruges, Flanders. It was known as the First Guards later becoming the First Regiment of Foot Guards and now bears the title The First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards in honour of the defeat of Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. It is the only regiment in the British Army that has directly gained its title from the part it played in action.
Since it's formation the Regiment has fought in almost every major campaign of the British Army. It fought against the Moors at Tangiers (1680) and in America (1776-82) and even took part as Marines in the naval wars against the Dutch (1793). They also fought in the Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo (1815), Crimea (1854-56). Tel-el-Kebir (1882) the Boer War (1899-1902) and both World Wars. In the Great War (1914-18) the four battalions of the Regiment fought in all the principle battles of the Western Front suffering 12,000 casualties. Six battalions were raised during the Second World War (1939-45), the 3rd, 5th and 6th Battalions serving in North Africa and Italy while the 1st, 2nd and 4th Battalion took part in the Normandy landings and the actionin North West Europe. The 1st and 2nd Battalions served with the Guards Armoured Division and the 4th Battalion with 6th Guards Tank Brigade.
Since World War II the Regiment has served in virtually every one of the smaller campaigns and conflicts throughout the world. From Palestine (1945-48), Malaya (1948-49), the Middle East (1948-56), Cyprus (1956-59), the Gulf War (1990-91) and through many tours in Northern Ireland from 1969. Throughout this time it has continued its traditional and privileged task of mounting guard over the Sovereign.