The Regiment was first mustered on the 14th October 1661 on Putney
Heath. It was formed to garrison Tangiers, which had been ceeded to
England as part of the dowry of Princess Catherine of Braganza of
Portugal when she married King Charles II in 1662. The Regiment was
taken into the line as the 2nd Regiment. With this number the Regiment
is the senior English Regiment, the 1st Regiment being the Royal Scots.
The Regiment garrisoned Tangiers for 22 years until it was abandoned
to the Moors.
After returning from Tangiers the Regiment fought for King James
II at Sedgemoor in 1685 and with William III, against James, at the
Boyne in 1690. The Regiment was then sent to the continent and fought
at Landen (1693), the siege of Namur (July-Sept 1695), the siege of
Tongres (9-16th May 1703) and Almanza in 1707.
The Regiment spent most of the 18th Century in extensive garrison
duties in Ireland, Gibraltar and the West Indies. In 1793 it found
itself being ordered to Sea! To help the Navy make up for the lack
of Marines when the fleet was rapidly expanded on the outbreak of
the French Revolutionary Wars. The Regiment served under Admiral Lord
Howe off Ushant aboard the Flagship QUEEN CHARLOTTE and in the ROYAL
GEORGE, DEFENCE, MAJESTIC and RUSSELL. On the 1st June 1794 the Regiment
took part in a Fleet action which became known as the "Glorious
First of June". This gave the Regiment the honour of an Infantry
regiment being awarded a Naval Battle Honour, the right to have the
Naval Crown on their colours, and their Officers the right to take
the loyal toast sitting down in the Naval Tradition.
Over the next 15 years the Regiment would fight the French in the
West Indies (1794-97), Ireland (1798), Holland (1799) and Egypt (1801),
earning a battle honour in the latter place. It was then back to Gibraltar.
On the 19th August 1808 (2 days after the Battle of Rolica) 731 men
of the the 2nd (Queen's Royal) Regiment landed at Porto Novo in Portugal
as reinforcements for Lt Gen Sir Arthur Wellesley's army which had
landed in Portugal in July 1808 and was present at the Battle of Vimeiro,
where the French Marshal Junot was defeated.
With the intervention of Napoleon himself in Spain, Oct 1808, the
British army, now under the command of Sir John Moore, was forced
to retreat to Vigo and Corunna. Here the army embarked on ships for
England, but not before a heroic rearguard action by the Queen's Royals,
which earned the Regiment another battle honour.
A single company of the Queen's Royals had remained behind in Portugal,
and when Wellesley returned to the Peninsula in April 1809 it formed
part of the 2nd Battalion of Detachments. The company fought at the
Battle of Talavera in July before returning home in August that year.
Meanwhile the rest of the Regiment took part in the disastrous Walcheren
Expedition, where the army died in their hundreds due to the weather
In 1811 the whole Regiment embarked for the Peninsular War once more,
where it was involved in sieges of various French fortresses. At the
Battle of Salamanca in July 1812 the Queen's Royals once again showed
their mettle, but lost 109 men. The Regiment was way below strength
during the battle and was just 408 strong. By January 1813 the strength
of the Regiment had fallen so low that six weak companies were sent
home, and the remainder were joined by four companies of the 53rd
Regiment to form the 2nd Battalion of Detachments. They were present
at the Battle of Vittoria in June 1813, and subsequently took part
in the battles of the Pyrenees and Nivelle, and finally in April 1814
the Battle of Toulouse. At the close of the war the companies returned
to England, where the Queen's Royals readied themselves for Garrison
duty in the West Indies again! Meanwhile Napoleon made a last desperate
attempt to regain his former power, but his dreams ended on the field
The Regiment was not present at the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June
1815, but our unit is one of the many regiments that take part in
the spectacular re-enactments that are held on the battlefield.