Cardinal's Guard

Upon the ascension of Cardinal Richelieu to the leadership of the King’s Council in 1624, Marie de’ Medicis, the Queen Mother and patron of the cardinal, requested that King Louis XIII provide the prelate with a personal bodyguard. The Queen Mother was no doubt mindful of the death by assassination of her previous favorite, Concino Concini, and wishes to protect Cardinal Richelieu from a similar fate.

A troop of fifty men were selected to protect the first minister of France. Organized and armed like the King’s Musketeers, this bodyguard quickly counted among its ranks some of the best swordsmen in Europe, for the Cardinal shrewdly cast a wide net without confining himself to the strictures for gentilhommes required among the king’s guards. The Cardinal’s Guards tend to be fanatically loyal to the minister, a bond only matched by their bitter rivalry with the King’s Musketeers.

The Cardinal’s Guards are readily recognized by their red tabards, styled on those of the Musketeers but without the cross and stylized flames of the latter’s garment.

Cardinal's Guard

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