Papal Noble Guard

  • General History
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

An augment to The Swiss Pontifical Guard of The Pope of The Catholic Church, The Noble Guard was another Military Unit created for bother Personal and Palace protection. They were formed in 1801 by Pope Pius VII. During this Era, The Vatican in Italy needed a “Standing Army”. The Swiss Guard (while Soldiers in their own right), served to protect the Person of The Pope and various Cardinals. The Reunification of Italy and The abolishment of The Papal States regulated The Guard to “Protection” Duties. The Noble Guard was recruited as a Heavy Cavalry Unit, equipped very much the same as Cavalry Units were in the 19th Century. However, die to the exact size of The Vatican (and subsequent regulations), only an Honor Guard was ever really used (with most Horses being sold in 1904).


Called “Noble” for who was recruited into their Ranks, many Italian young Noblemen wished to serve. They were not paid, but their equipment and uniforms were provided and maintained. They carried no firearms inside The Vatican (although as Cavalrymen, they once did), or in The Popes presence. They did however carry a Standard Heavy Model 1870 Cavalry Saber. The Noble Guard took mofre responsible for The Pope's “physical” protection – often going literally everywhere other than his personal Quarters or Privy. A comparable Unit would England's Royal Life and Blues and Royal Horseguard. When on Duty, The Noble Guard Uniform was Blue, with their Dress and Ceremonial Uniform Red and White. Seen as an “excess” by 1970, The Vatican Noble Guard was abolished., leaving only The Swiss Guard to provide protection.