The Grenadier Guards, an infantry regiment of the British Army, gathered in the city centre of Bruges on Friday 2nd of september, followed by a city parade on Saturday the 3th at 10.30am with an inspection of the troops on the Market square. The Grenadier Guards were founded by King Charles II in 1656 during his stay in the city centre of Bruges. Also the famous Life Guards in 1659. They both have an important link to the city centre of Bruges.
Inspection of the troops by the Major of Bruges
This because of the 600th anniversary of the Royal St. Sebastian’s Archers Guild. Also Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium will be present for the celebrations together with the Queens Life Guards and British Grenadier Guards.
The St. Sebastian Archers Guild has a very close link in history with the UK. The members of this guild are exclusively male, with two notable exceptions: Queen Mathilde of Belgium and the Queen of England. This regiment was established by Englands King Charles II, who sought refuge in Bruges at that time.
Charles II resided on the continent as early as 1646, first in France, Cologne and Holland, and later in Belgium. In 1651 he tried in vain to seize power in Great Britain, supported by the Scots who recognized him as their King. Charles II lived in Bruges from 22nd of April 1656 till 15th of March 1659. They briefly resided at Hof van Watervliet, then took up residence in the Zeven Torens (currently known as the 4 star Casselberg hotel). At the end of this period he left for Brussels.
Charles II remains mostly famous for the 1666 fishing Privilege grant to the City, a sign of recognition for its hospitality during his stay. The royal company spent some pleasant years in Bruges. Its inhabitants took pleasure at enrolling them in local society life centred around the Archers' guilds. While in Bruges, Charles II founded two regiments which still exist today: the Grenadier Guards (1656) and the life Guards (1659)