Royal Suédois

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Standards of the Royal Suédois

The Royal-Suédois (English: The Royal Swedes) was an infantry regiment in the French Army during the Ancien Régime. It was created in 1690 from Swedish prisoners taken during the Battle of Fleurus. The regiment was very successful and eventually earned the right and privilege to be called a Royal regiment. Thus it was named the Royal Suédois. As a special privilege granted by the King of France, the regiment was allowed to only accept Swedish officers. However most of the privates and NCOs were of German origin, from Swedish Pomerania, in view of the difficulty of obtaining sufficient numbers of Swedish recruits, and at least one Irishman, Daniel Charles, Count O'Connell, was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the regiment.

Initially named the Lenck Regiment, the unit was renamed the Appelgrehn Regiment in 1734 and the Royal-Suedois in 1742. From about 1750 onwards the regiment was distinguished by wearing dark blue coats with buff (yellow-brown) collars and cuffs. This colour combination matched the uniform of most infantry regiments in the Swedish Army during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Count Axel von Fersen bought the regiment (or rather the position of Colonel) in 1783, according to some in order to be able to stay close to the Queen of France Marie Antoinette. He remained in command of the Regiment until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, and officially this was the case when, in 1791, all royal foreign regiments were disbanded. The regiment was then reorganised as the new 89th Regiment of the Line.

In December 1813, the regiment was once again raised by a French émigré in Germany, and it fought in the Swedish Army during the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 and during the campaign in Norway in 1814. The Royal Suédois was finally disbanded in December 1814 in Norway.

Today, the regiment's traditions and flag are carried on in the French Army via a company in the 4th Infantry Regiment.

References[edit]

  • Beckman, Margareta. Under fransk fana!: Royal Suédois. Stockholm: Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Bibliotek, 1995. ISBN 91-972209-1-4