The regiment Royal, 3 battalions

Origins of the regiment Royal

The regiment royal was a regiment that had been artificially raised in rank by renaming, bribery and fusing older regiments. This time it were the regiment de l'Altesse and the regiment royal. The régiment de l'Altesse was the regiment of Gaston d'Orleans, brother of Louis XIII. After the death of Louis XIII and Richelieu he first dared to raise his own regiment in 1644. Henri François Alphonse d'Ornano became its first colonel and the name became de l'altesse, altesse being a title of Gaston. The regiment de l'altesse first fought in 1645. The regiment Royal was raised in 1656 by the Duke d'Arpajon and saw its first combat in 1657.

By an ordonnance of 13 February 1660 the regiment de l'altesse and the regiment royal were fused into one regiment which carried the name Regiment du Roi, but ranked as de l'Altesse. On 21 May 1663 this name was changed (back) to Régiment Royal, no doubt because a new Regiment du Roi was raised by Louis XIV. For the first nineteen years of its existence the regiment was in the bizarre circumstance that it had two colonels. The Duc d'Arpajon and Pierrefitte were both colonels of the regiment, but Arpajon was really commanding. At his death in 1679 the command then passed to De Pierrefitte. Before that the rank of the regiment had again been increased by Louis XIV when he first bought the rank of the regiment De Saint Villier, oldest of the Petits-Vieux. After that it got the rank of the old Lorraine regiment and finally the 13th rank when the Royal Douglas returned to England in 1678.

The regiment Royal in the Franco-Dutch War

Durign the Franco-Dutch war the regiment royal started with the sieges of Charleroi, Orsoy, Rheinberg and Doesburg. In 1673 its two battalions participated in the Siege of Maastricht, where it had the honor to open the trenches together with the Picardie. After the conquest of Maastricht the regiment royal went to Lorraine, stayed in Nancy for a while and wintered in Saint Wandel.

In March 1674 the royal went to Franche-Comté, where it covered the siege of Besançon from a position at Pontarlier. After the capitulation of the town the first battalion participated in the siege of the citadel, which surrendered the next day. On 28 May this battalion went to the siege of Dole. Next it participated in the 22 June conquest of Salins and went to Alsace. It then fought in the battles of Sintzheim, Enzheim, Mulhausen, that of Turckheim and the siege of Castel Dachstein. In 1675 in suffered heavily at the siege of Dinant and participated in the sieges of Huy and Limbourg. In 1676 the regiment royal started with the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire, and was then in the army that forced William III to lift the siege of Maastricht. In 1677 the regiment started with the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai. In April it was in the battle of Mont-Cassel. In 1678 the regiment royal was in the sieges of Gent and Ieper and in the Battle of Saint Denis, later that year it was in the encounter at Rheinfeld and the blockade of Strasburg.

With the peace the regiment royal was garrisoned at Freiburg. On 6 May 1680 François Joseph de Blanchefort marquis de Créqui became colonel-lieutenant of the regiment. In 1681 the regiment went to Breisach and was then engaged in the conquest of Strasburg on 3 October, and it stayed there till 1683. In 1684 the regiment then joined the siege of Luxembourg. After this siege the regiment royal was garrisoned in Thionville and from 1687-1688 it worked at the fortifications of Mont-Royal.

The regiment royal in the Nine Years War

The regiment royal started in the Nine Years War with its first battalion participating in the bombardment of Coblentz. Its second battalion was in the sieges of Philippsburg and Mannheim. In 1689 the first battalion participated in the conquest of Kockheim. The second battalion was in the army of the Maréchal de Lorges. In 1690 the whole regiment was in the army that defended the Upper Rhine. In 1691 the regiment was in Piemont, where it participated in the conquest of Villefranche, Montalbano, Sant'Ospizio, Nizza, Veillane and Carmagnola. It ended the campaign with the conquest of the castle of Montmélian.

In 1692 the regiment had three battalions and moved to the northern theatre. Here it participated in the Siege of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque. On 28 February 1693 Benoît marquis de Calvo was appointed as colonel-lieutenant. Under him the regiment royal went to Germany and participated in the conquest of Heidelberg and Awingemberg. At the end of this campaign it returned to Flanders and participated in the Siege of Charleroi. In 1694 the regiment returned to the German Theatre and passed the Rhine on 8 June. That year nothing spectacular happened. In 1695 the regiment went to Italy and saw another uneventful campaign. In September 1696 it was in the siege of Valencia which was cut short by the peace with the Duke of Savoy. In 1697 it was in the covering force for the siege of Ath. After the peace it incorporated the dismissed regiment of Puynormand.

The regiment royal in the War of the Spanish Succession

In the War of the Spanish Succession the regiment royal started with occupying Gent and later in 1701 Namur. It wintered in the colognese. In 1702 its third battalion was in the defense of Venlo. Because the garrison was allowed to leave the place under the terms of surrender it was able to join the other battalions which wintered in Bonn. In 1703 the third battalion was sent to Flanders while the other two remained in Bonn. At the surrender of Bonn these two battalions were allowed to leave and marched to Luxembourg. From there they went to the sieges of Breisach and Landau.

On 15 November the first two battalions of the Régiment Royal were in the Battle on the Speyerbach in which they were in the center of the first line. It lost its colonel-lieutenant the Marquis de Calvo in this battle. The third battalion happened to be in Pracontal's detachment and came too late for the battle. The regiment then wintered in Trier and other places on the Moselle. Pierre René de Brisey Comte d'Enonville was appointed as its new colonel-lieutenant on 21 November 1703.

In 1704 the regiment first went on the mission that delivered the recruits to the Bavarian theatre. Later it went to the Danube with Tallard. In the Battle of Blenheim the regiment royal was forced into Blenheim village. Here lieutenant-colonel de Saint Maurice did what he could do, while d'Enonville was isolated in the cemitery with only a few of his regiment around him. The same legends the Navarre regiment had about burning the regimental flags also apply to the regiment royal and probably contain just as much truth. After Blenheim the remnants of the regiment were collected at Thionville and rebuilt at Sédan. On 3 January 1705 Louis-François comte d'Aubigné de Tigny (nephew of De Maintenon) was appointed as colonel-lieutenant. Later in 1705 it had been rebuilt to two battalions and participated in the Siege of Huy. After that it went to Valenciennes, where it rebuilt its third battalion.

In 1706 the regiment royal was on the Upper Rhine where it participated in taking the works of Drusenheim and lifting the blockade of Fort Louis. The loss of the Battle of Ramillies then constrained it to move to Flanders. There it wintered in Dunkirk. In 1707 the regiment royal was in Aire. In 1708 the regiment royal was in the Battle of Oudenaarde, but was not engaged. It was then in the battle of Wijnendale and the conquest of Leffinghe. It concluded the 1708 campaign in the defense of Gent. It next wintered in Boulogne, Ardres and Montreuil.

In 1709 the reigment was in the battle of Maplaquet, where it lost its lieutenant-colonel Saint-Ouën. Its colonel-lieutenant d'Aubigné was wounded. The régiment royal then continued on the Flanders front and was in the Battle of Denain and the sieges of Douai and Le Quesnoy. In 1713 it was in the force that covered the siege of Landau. Later it was in the conquest of the works of Freiburg and in the siege of Freiburg. On 31 December 1713 the regiments of De Desangles, De Vassan and De la Rivière were incorporated into the reigment. After the peace of Rastadt the regiments of De Laubanie and De Bombelles were incorporated. Nonetheless the regiment was reduced to two battalions.

Flag of the regiment royal

The regiment royal had twelve drapeaux. The eleven drapeaux d'ordonnance had two violette and two nut-colored quarters. The cross was decorated with golden lillies. 2.


1) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume IV, page 140 for most of this article about the regiment royal.
2) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume IV, page 151 for the flag of the regiment royal and its uniform.