Saturday, 19 October 2013

Atholl Highlanders

The Atholl Highlanders is an infantry regiment employed and commanded by the Duke of Atholl. They Europe's only legal private army. Although their official duties are personal bodyguard to the Duke of Atholl, the defence of Blair Castle (traditional seat of the Clan Murray) its grounds, estates and inhabitants, it has never seen action and is more of a ceremonial display team, rather than an army.
In 1842 and 1844 the regiment escorted and guarded Queen Victoria when she toured Perthshire and stayed at Blair Castle. The Queen was so pleased with them that she presented them with her own colours thus given them regimental status in 1845. Its current colours were received in 1979. A picture of the colours on parade are below:
I am not too sure of the correct terminology as its a private army, but the right-hand colour seems to be the Queen's Colour and the left-hand one the regimental colour. Here's a better picture:

The gold and black bars appear to come from the traditional arms of Atholl.  The first thing that I noticed is that the Duke of Atholl's coat of arms on the regimental colour appear to be outdated. So my first proposal for new colours was to simply correct this:
 The regimental colour features the Duke's arms topped with the cornet of a Duke. The text is removed. The crest of the Clan Murray (the Clan of whom the Duke is chief) and the year 1845 (the year the first colours were received) are in the corners. The Queen's Colour still has the Royal Arms, although as the colour are for Highlanders I used the Scottish variant with the Scots Crown. I kept the cypher of Queen Victoria (in blue) but changed the crowned thistle with the cypher of the current monarch.
I was pleased with this but the flaw with these colours are that their is too much going on. The main problem for the regimental colour is that stripped field clashes with the arms. So my second design removed the bars:
 These colours both have a blue field. I removed the date from the regimental colour replacing it with the cornet. The Queens Colour is an ensign with the Scottish Royal Banner in the canton, and Royal cypher with a thistle wreath and the date. While this might work I personaly don't like it, I feel the Atholl Arms have too much going on, in them so I decided to replace them eith the cadge of Clan Murray in the last design:
I reverted back to the gold and black bars. In the corners I have the date 1845 and the cornet with the roman numerals for 12 (because the current duke is the 12th Duke of Atholl). The Queens colour has changed little from the first design, except there is no crown, and only the Scottish arms are used. I think this is the best, it keeps things as simple as possible but retains much of the historical and traditional features.
For more information on the Atholl Highlanders you cans read the Wikipedia article here.
Or if you like parades and that sort of thing you can see them on YouTube here.
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