During the 18th century the 1st Guards had the distinction of being the only regiment in the British army with plain buttons. Officers had either flat or domed gilt buttons and other ranks had the same in pewter or brass according to whether they had white lace or gold (sergeants). The first patterned button was too similar to that of the Coldstream Guards so in 1805 they adopted the garter and crown with George III's reverse cypher. The 1825 button has the reverse cypher of George IV. For the reign of William the IV (c1832 - 37) the garter was not used but 'IV' was placed under the cypher. Despite being the Grenadier Guards since 1815 they did not have a grenade on their buttons until the reign of Queen Victoria, in 1837. When uniforms changed to skirted tunics after the Crimean War the reverse cypher of the reigning monarch was adopted and has been used to this day.

Uniforms | Regimental Details

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by Stephen Luscombe