The Royal Company of Archers

The Royal Company of Archers functions as the Sovereign's 'Body Guard in Scotland'.

It performs duties at the request of The King at any State and ceremonial occasion taking place in Scotland. The Royal Company also provided a guard on vigil during Queen Elizabeth II lying-in-state.

The Royal Company's most regular duty is to be in attendance at His Majesty's annual garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

About 120 members of the Royal Company form avenues down which The King and Queen proceed while guests chosen at random are presented to them by the Company's Captain-General and President of the Council.

Another major duty is attendance outside St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, at the service of installation of Knights of the Thistle. Members of the Company also attend Investitures at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the presentation of new Colours for Scottish regiments.

Apart from its role as the Sovereign's bodyguard, the Royal Company of Archers still functions as an archery club - the purpose for which it was originally formed in 1676.

In return for being endowed with "perpetual access to all public butts, plains and pasturages legally allotted for shooting arrows", including the grounds at the Palace at Holyroodhouse, the Royal Company is required to present to the Sovereign three barbed arrows on request.

Members of the Royal Company must be Scots or have strong Scottish connections. Membership is by election. The structure of the organisation is divided between officers and members.

By seniority, the officers comprise one Captain-General, four Captains, four Lieutenants, four Ensigns and twelve Brigadiers.

Members of the Royal Company of Archers wear a distinctive uniform. It features a dark green tunic with black facings, dark green trousers with black and crimson stripe, and a Balmoral bonnet with the Royal Company's badge and an eagle feather.

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