The Atholl Highlanders - Europe's last legal private army.
Origins of the Atholl Highlanders. The Atholl
Highlanders origins date back over 200 years to 1777 when
the 4th Duke of Atholl raised the 77th Regiment of Foot as a
relief for other regiments serving in North America. The Atholl
Highlanders came to the fore when the Lord Lyon, later the 6th
Duke, in 1839, resurrected the regiment as a bodyguard which he
took to the Eglinton Tournament at Eglinton Castle, Ayrshire.
Queen Victoria - The Atholl Highlanders
escorted Queen Victoria during her tour of Perthshire and when she
stayed at Blair Castle. In recognition of this Queen
Victoria awarded the Atholl Highlanders its colours,in 1845,
giving the regiment official status.
Parade 26th May 2012 with Prince Michael of Kent and
the 12th Duke of Atholl, Bruce Murray.
Highlanders Parade 25th May 2014 - a summary
of thecomplete parade, from the march on, the Duke
inspecting his troups, the new recruits receiving their Juniper
sprigs for their caps and the march off. All very special, we
recommend you see it first hand to take it all in.
Today - The Atholl Highlanders are purely
ceremonial regiment, including pipes and drums. They wear a
sprig of juniper in the bonnets, the Murray clan's plant badge. In
times past when the the highland clan system was at it strength,
clans would recognise each other, not by the tartan cloth they were
wearing, but by their plant badge worn in their
bonnets. Each clan having its own plant badge, worn to
differentiate it from other clans. The Atholl Highlander's tartan
is the Clan Murray of Atholl tartan.
The regiment's officers are usually lairds from the areas around
Blair Atholl, while other ranks are men with connections either to
the local area or to the Duke's estate. Membership of the regiment
is by the personal invitation of the Duke.
Atholl Highlander Parades - The Atholl
Highlanders parade twice a year, both occasions occur on the Bank
Holiday Saturday and Sunday on the last weekend of May. There are
certain other occasions when the Duke permits the regiment to
parade, such as royal visits to Blair Castle (when the regiment
would serve as the guard), or on tours overseas.
A popular You Tube clip showing the
Atholl Highlanders on Parade and the 11th Duke
presenting his grandson with the Juniper for his cap on joining the