Sunday, August 2, 2009

Royal Guardians Profile: The Palatine Guard of Mexico

When Archduke Maximilian von Hapsburg became Emperor of Mexico in 1864 he spent his voyage across the Atlantic planning the details of his court. He was determined that the Mexican Empire would be the most ornate, well ordered and glamorous monarchy in the New World. Of course, no such monarchy would be complete without an imperial palace guard and so, orders were drawn up for a company of Palatine Guards. The uniform of the guard was somewhat Germanic in style but was certainly the most colorful in the Mexican Imperial Army. Full dress included a red tunic with white and green trim, white leather breeches with black thigh-high leather boots, white leather gloves and a silver helmet topped by a Mexican eagle. Troops were armed with a sword and halberd for ceremonial duties guarding the National Palace, Chapultapec Castle and protecting the Emperor. The troops were foreigners and beards were virtually regulation. Count Karl de Bombelles was made commandant of the guard who could also been called on for combat duty. On such occasions they wore an undress uniform of a green frock coat with scarlet cuffs, green trousers and a white French style kepi. Unfortunately, when Emperor Maximilian marched off to his last stand at Queretaro he left all of his remaining foreign troops behind, including the Palatine Guard. As a result they were not on hand for his capture and were surrendered almong with Mexico City to the republican forces of General Porfirio Diaz.

1 comment:

  1. "All fourteen members must be faithful Hungarians of unblemished character and qualification. They are also required to have a respectable appearance and to grow a full beard."

    Emperor Maximilian of Mexico

    (The fourteen Hungarian members of the Imperial Guards set sail on July 18th 1864 on board of the Adria. They departed three months earlier than the volunteer legion.)


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