Officer, 12th Lancers, 1820

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The 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Royal Lancers merged to form the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) in 1960 then formed Royal Lancers in 2015.

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The 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Royal Lancers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army formed in 1715. It saw service for three centuries, including both World Wars. The regiment survived the immediate post-war reductions but amalgamated with the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers to form the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) in 1960, then amalgamated with the Queen’s Royal Lancers in 2015 to form the Royal Lancers. Here is an officer in the first Lancer dress adopted in the British Army. Napoleon’s Polish Lancers made such an impression on their adversaries that in 18 16 the 9th, 12th, 16th and 23rd Light Dragoons were re-equipped as Lancers, adopting the Polish type of dress. The most striking part of the outfit, of course, is the hat, or schapka, with its square top, rayed plate in front and plumes of swan’s feathers. The jacket had diminutive tails behind, which cannot be seen in the picture, adorned with a bullion fringe called the wasserfall. The epaulettes have grown larger and the pouch-belt is adorned with silver chains and ‘pickers’. the trousers are of the fashionable cut worn by the Hussars. This is one of the most striking uniforms ever worn by the British cavalry and, as may be imagined, it was very expensive. The uniform of an infantry officer cost £40, and that of a Lancer between £200 and £300, while a Hussar had to spend between £300 and £400 on his full-dress uniform. One shudders to think what it would cost today.

Dimensions 24 × 37.5 cm