Gardes du Corps
The four companies of the Garde du Corps (literally, “the bodyguards”) are the oldest household cavalry formations, with precedence over all other units in the royal army. In battle the Garde du Corps occupies the extreme right of the French army, considered the position of honor. Each company is commanded by a captain; the Scots Guards ranks first among the four companies, with precedence of the three French Guards companies determined by the rank of the captain.
The Scots Guards (Garde Écossaise) is the first and oldest of the companies in the Gardes du Corps, founded under King Charles VII in 1418. Long united by a shared enmity of England, the French and Scots from the thirteenth century on frequently entered into treaties of mutual support; the relationship is often referred to as the “Auld Alliance.” Scottish nobles and soldiers served in France during the Hundred Years War against the English and Burgundians, and from among these Charles VII recruited his personal guard. The core of this elite unit is the Garde de la Manche, twenty-four guards personally responsible for the king’s person.
Though Scottish noblemen occasionally travel to France to serve in the guards, most of the members of the contemporary Scots Guards are in fact French by birth and ancestry.
The three French Guards companies were raised in the period roughly between 1474 and 1515. All of the guards are gentlemen or nobles.