The King presents a regiment standard to the Life Guard

On Friday 24 November, The King presented a new regiment standard to the Life Guard during a ceremony in the Inner Courtyard at the Royal Palace of Stockholm.

The Life Guard had used the old standard, which has now become worn out, for 17 years. The King gave a speech during the ceremony in the Inner Courtyard:

"On 14 January 1521, 16 young men were detailed to protect the life of King Gustaf Vasa. Ever since then, the unit has been directly linked to the Royal Court. This means that the Life Guard will soon be 500 years old, making it one of the world's oldest units.

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"It is with great pleasure that I present this new field standard to the Life Guard. As I present it to you, you are receiving an important symbol. A field standard helps to create a sense of pride and a clear identity for the unit. However, it also involves an obligation: To do your best, as members of the Life Guard, in all situations and to defend the underlying values on which the Kingdom of Sweden and the Armed Forces are founded."

During the ceremony in the Inner Courtyard. Photo: royalcourt.se

The King then presented the new standard to the head of the regiment, Colonel Laura Swaan Wrede.

During the ceremony, members of the Life Guard were positioned in the Inner Courtyard together with the Grenadier Company, the Army Music Corps and the Life Guard's Dragoon Music Corps.

The King and head of the Life Guard Laura Swaan Wrede oversee the Grenadier Company marching across Norrbro. Photo: royalcourt.se

The standard was designed by artist Kristina Holmgård Semitjov and took around 2,500 hours to make. It was made by the Association of Friends of Textile Art. Photo: Björn Westerdahl/The Swedish Armed Forces

Field standards

The units of the Swedish Armed Forces are assigned new field standards when, for example, they are newly formed or reorganised, or when the old standard has become worn out. A field standard is the collective name for banners, standards, dragoon banners, three-tailed Swedish banners and three-tailed Swedish ensigns (in the navy, the three-tailed Swedish banner is called an ensign) and command ensigns/command emblems. The original role of the field standard was to show the location of a particular unit during combat.

The tradition of standard nailing was resumed in the 21st century, and takes place at the Army Museum in Stockholm. Photo: Björn Westerdahl/The Swedish Armed Forces

Standard nailing

On Friday 8 April 2016, a traditional standard nailing ceremony was held at the Army Museum for the Life Guard's new standard.

The traditional standard nailing ceremonies date back to the 16th century, when each soldier hammered in his own nail to affix the standard. This was the equivalent of signing a contract; the soldier had committed to serving the company for as long as the standard remained in place.

The tradition of standard nailing was resumed in the 21st century, and takes place at the Army Museum in Stockholm. The short brass nails that attach the standard or ensign to the pole are half knocked in so that the unit commander and unit members can hammer in their nails according to ceremonial tradition.

The ceremony ends with the unit confirming receipt of the field standard, together with its fixtures and cover, and then taking it ready for the official presentation ceremony.