The stars of Country Life's Frontispiece page in the 2017 Best of Britain issue are 10 serving officers of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards. Here are some things you may not have known about what is one of the most operationally-experienced regiments in the British Army.

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How the QDG came into existence

The 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG) was formed in 1959 when the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards (KDG) and The Queen’s Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) merged. The most senior Regiment of the line in the British Army, the QDG can also boast the most number of battle honours to its name.

(Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

The Welsh connection

As their nickname – The Welsh Cavalry – suggests, the Regiment’s recruiting area is Wales and the English border counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire, and Cheshire. After a long stint in Germany they are now at Robertson Barracks, Norfolk.

Second Lieutenant Thomas Oakley  (Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

The regimental mascot

Her Majesty The Queen recently granted the QDG a Regimental Mascot in the form of 16851959 Trooper Emrys Forlan Jones, a Welsh mountain pony, cared for by Farrier Major Corporal Miles Davis.

(Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

The link to an imperial past

For a period of time, from 1896, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria was Colonel-in-Chief of the KDG. The Austrian double-headed eagle badge can still be found on the caps of QDG Officers and Soldiers today.

Second Lieutenant Charles Byrd  (Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

The changing of the badge

With Austria and Britain on opposing sides during World War One, the badge was temporarily withdrawn. It was re-instated in 1938 and eventually adopted by the QDG, in an act of remembrance, ‘buff’ down the coat of arms on the cap badges.

Lieutenant Edward Hind

The regimental march

Austrian musician John Strauss Senior composed their Regimental Quick March, the Radestsky March, in 1848. It was initially intended to commemorate the KDG’s role in Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky’s victory over the Kingdom of Sardinia at the Battle of Custoza.

Lieutenant Charles Layzell-Payne  (Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

Playing rugby with frozen cabbages

In memory of the decisive role that the KDG played in the Battle of Waterloo, Officers and Sergeants of the QDG dine together, annually, on June 18. Tradition comes with its quirks – in this case, in the form of an indoor rugby match played with a series of frozen cabbages instead of a ball.

(Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

The battle honours

The Standard of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards has forty-eight battle honours under its belt, collected as a result of the 111 different battles that the Regiments have fought in, with distinction.

Lieutenant Harry Russell (Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

The VCs

The Regiment has been awarded five Victoria Crosses: one to Private John Doogan, from The King’s Dragoon Guards; and the remaining four to Captain Nevill Smith, Lieutenant Robert Blain, Trumpeter Thomas Monaghan, and Private Charles Anderson, from The Queen’s Bays.

Captain Bryn Williams (Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

The motto

The Regimental Motto of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards is ‘Pro rege et patria’ or ‘For King and Country.’

Second Lieutenant Joe Kite (Picture: Country Life Picture Library/Chris Ridley)

Additional research by Sophie Perks

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