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Pillars of Monarchy: An Outline of the Political and Social History of Royal Guards 1400-1984

London, Quartet Books, 1 October 1984, 200 pages, ISBN 0704324245

Guards are a key to history. Since the personal bodyguards and household troops of the different monarchies of Europe were the largest military force in their respective capitals, it was they who, in moments of crisis, decided the fate of the monarchy. Guards were always there, on duty, when history was being made, and they often made it themselves.

According to the future Louis XI of France, who tried to bribe the Garde du Corps to kill his father the King, they ‘kept the kingdom of France in subjection’. Catherine II of Russia, who had the sensible habit of choosing her lovers from the guards, owed her throne to their intervention in 1762, just as her son Paul I - who detested the guards - was deposed and murdered by guards officers in 1801. In 1789 the desertion of the Gardes Françaises was instrumental in the success of the crowd’s attack on the Bastille. In 1802 the Garde Consulaire was described as having great effect in Paris, ‘where its mere presence maintains order and upholds the usurped authority of Bonaparte’.

Pillars of Monarchy presents new facts and a new point of view, based on many years’ intensive research, and will give pleasure to those interested in political and social history; the cultural history of the capitals of Europe; uniforms and military history; and monarchy.

‘Excellent’ (Daily Telegraph)

Authoritative’ (The Guardian).