Why do British guardsmen wear such strange hats?

Her Majesty's Guard is as much an integral part of British national identity as the Tower, Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. The royal guards in impeccable red uniforms and high fur hats invariably participate in the celebrations.

Today it may seem strange, but the uniforms so recognizable all over the world were not created at all for parades, but were the daily belongings of the soldiers of the British army of the 19th century. It should be especially noted that the tradition of wearing fur hats - bearskin (“bearskin”) - appeared after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, during which British soldiers “liked” the fur hats of the French, which the victors got as trophies.

The name "bearskin" itself means that the hat is made of bearskin, and more specifically, from the skin of a Canadian black grizzly bear. One skin is used for each headdress. In everything one can feel British pedantry and adherence to traditions: the height of the hat is exactly 46 cm, the weight is about 4 kg. Annually, Her Majesty's army supply service purchases from fifty to a hundred headdresses at a price of about $ 900 each.

The hat is attached to the head with a special strap just above the chin, which is no coincidence. The fact is that during ceremonial formations, sometimes, alas, the guards faint, and given the large weight of the cap, when falling, it should easily fly off the head, otherwise it can cause serious injury to its "wearer". And one more small detail - the guardsman, even in such a situation, must try to fall, as if in battle, face forward, thereby showing his valor.

By the way, in recent years, bearskin has more and more opponents from among the defenders of wildlife, offering to abandon this relic of the past, for which dozens of animals pay with their lives every year.