The Uniform of the Regiment
The Dress of The King’s Royal Hussars is of considerable historical interest and includes several unique elements.
HRH Prince Albert granted the honour of wearing crimson trousers to the 11th Light Dragoons after they escorted him to his marriage with Queen Victoria in 1840. Crimson was the colour of his personal livery. Prince Albert was also appointed the Colonel of the Regiment, which was re-titled 11th Prince Albert’s Own Hussars.
The Crossed Kukris are worn by all ranks on the upper part of both sleeves on Blue Patrols, Service Dress and Mess Dress. The 14th/20th King‘s Hussars were originally granted the unique honour of wearing Crossed Kukris by the 43rd Gurkha Lorried Infantry Brigade as a result of the Italian Campaign, which included the Battle of Medicina in April 1945. Since 1946, 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles, who fought alongside the Regiment at Medicina, wore the Prussian Eagle on their sleeve. This tradition is now carried on by The Royal Gurkha Rifles, following the amalgamation of the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles with the 2nd King Edward’s Own Gurkha Rifles in July 1994.
The Brown Beret
The Brown Beret worn by The King’s Royal Hussars today is unique within the British Army. The word ‘beret’ is of French origin, and it was from France that this pattern of headdress was taken. When the British Cavalry became mechanised during the inter-war period, it was quickly discovered that the traditional forage cap was not a suitable form of headdress for use inside armoured vehicles. The first such Regiment to be mechanised, the 11th Hussars, therefore looked for an alternative type of head-dress that would be better suited to the new working environment of the cavalry. The chosen form of headdress was the beret. Initially, black was the preferred colour, but George V refused to allow this, as it was an honour conferred to the Tank Corps. The colour for the 11th’s new beret was brown and it was issued to 11H with a broad crimson headband – but with no cap badge, as soldiers were only issued one cap badge which was fitted to their forage cap.
For more details on the origins of the Brown Beret in the 11th Hussars (PAO) please read The Origins of The Brown Beret.
The 11H beret remained unchanged until amalgamation with 10H in 1969. Upon amalgamation, it was agreed to keep the brown beret, without the 11th’s crimson headband but instead with the Prince of Wales’ Feathers cap badge on a crimson backing. The crimson backing originated from the 10th Hussars, and was originally scarlet in colour to represent the Red Dragon of Wales, a I0H Regimental emblem. It was also shaped to represent the Rising Sun of York, an emblem bestowed on the 10th Light Dragoons by George III on the 21st birthday of the Prince of Wales in 1783. Thus the brown beret survived its first amalgamation to become the beret of The Royal Hussars (PWO).
On the formation of The King’s Royal Hussars, it was decided to retain the unique brown beret, but with the Prussian Eagle replacing the Prince of Wales’ Feathers as the cap badge of the new Regiment. The crimson backing was also maintained. The brown beret now survives as the oldest cavalry beret within the British Army.