Apr
06
2012
0

A “French-style security force” – the origin of the yeomen of the guard

In Thomas Penn’s ‘The Winter King’, Henry VII is depicted as neurotically protecting his precarious grasp on the English throne. On page 20, Penn describes the security measures the new monarch puts in place:

“One of his first acts was to create a new French-style security force, three hundred strong: the yeoman of the guard.”

The Yeoman of the Guard? French? This was enough to pique my interest and find out more about the force I had always assumed was as British as the beef they legendarily consumed (or not – see below).

The Body Guard of the Yeoman of the Guard was formed by Henry VII in the dazed aftermath of the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Richard III was slain during this bloody culmination to the Wars of the Roses and Henry was determined to avoid a similar fate.

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