3rd (Prince of Wales') Dragoon Guards



The Regiment was raised as The Earl of Plymouth's Horse in 1685, in the troubled years following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The Earl was an experienced soldier, a cavalier who had fought for King Charles I at Naseby (1645) and throughout the Civil Wars. When the Protestant King Charles II died in 1685, many influential Protestants in England and Scotland resented a Roman Catholic, in the form of Charles' brother James II, ascending the throne, and James needed loyal troops to support him.



When the Earl of Plymouth died in 1687, the Regiment became Sir John Fenwick's Horse, Fenwick being a staunch Roman Catholic. He was later executed, in 1697, for plotting against the Protestant King William III. (Curiously, it's said that a horse named Sorrel owned by Fenwick and confiscated by the Crown was responsible for William's death in 1702 when it stumbled on a mole hill.)

Despite the treachery of their Colonel, the Regiment remained loyal to William and Mary and fought in Europe throughout the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), serving with distinction at the battles of Schellenberg, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

In the re-organisation of the army in 1746, the Regiment assumed the title 3rd Regiment of Horse and then in 1751 the 3rd Regiment of Dragoon Guards. In 1758 the Regiment shipped across the Channel to fight in the Seven Years' War (1756-63), earning particular distinction at the Battle of Warburg (1760).

Royal patronage was granted in 1765 when the Regiment became the 3rd (Prince of Wales's) Dragoon Guards, the Prince of Wales at that time being the son of George III (the future George IV). In 1793 the Regiment shipped to France and fought in the Duke of York's army during the French Revolutionary War (1792-1802), returning to England in 1796.

There followed a period of home duties (policing) which saw the Regiment constantly on the move throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. There was, at that time, no civilian police force and soldiers were used for all manner of duties.

In 1809 the Regiment joined Wellington's army in Spain for the Peninsular War (1807-14), then returned to home duties in England and Ireland until the Indian Mutiny (1857), at which time they shipped to India, where they remained until 1868. In 1868 the Regiment joined the Abyssinian Expedition led by General Robert Napier against the Ethiopian ruler Theodore II.

After a spell in England the Regiment returned to India from 1884 to 1895 before joining British troops in South Africa for the Boer War (1901-03).