Atholl Highlander


Highland lairds may have been unable to maintain private armed militia but it didn’t stop them retaining a retinue of men as a ceremonial bodyguard – it fitted their Victorian romantic ideals of the Highlands.

In 1839 Lord Glenlyon, later the 6th duke, took a retinue to the Eglinton jousting tournament. Five years later in 1844 the Duke provided Queen Victoria with a bodyguard of 200 when she visited Blair Castle, and in a bout of sentimentality that she was prone to, she revoked the law of 1746 for the duke, and presented him with Regimental Colours, and thus elevating the Atholl Highlanders to an private armed regiment.

Although essentially a private guard, the regiment is technically part of the British Army, and carries the Queen’s colours

Photo Silvy (London)