So far I've found some info on the bearskin hats. I would also like to know if the bearskins were used before Napoleon's Imperial Guard used them. I am also not entirely sure why both the Danish and British militaries traditionally seem to have worn red coats.

"This is when the original grenadier units, who actually were charged with throwing a small bombs—known then as grenades—wore cloth caps that were trimmed with fur. Over time the caps evolved, and by the end of the eighteenth century, the grenadiers in the armies of France, Spain and Great Britain were wearing tall fur hats, adorned with front plates. These likely increased in height to make the soldiers seem taller and more imposing—something that was done for similar reasons with military shakos and even civilian top hats. Bearskin caps were worn up until the outbreak of World War I by grenadier and guard units in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden. But again the most famous remains the British Guard Regiments, including the First Guards who adopted the headgear following the Battle of Waterloo. The First Guards, more commonly known as the Grenadier Guard was the only regiment in the British Army that directly gained its title from its part in that battle. The guards had adopted the style of headdress, the bearskin cap, which had been used by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s own Guard units. It was at Waterloo where the Old Guard broke, having never done so before. As the British Grenadier Guards were among the units that turned the Old Guard, they were given the honor of wearing the bearskin cap. The headdress, which had since 1768 been worn by the grenadier companies only, was now adopted as the headdress of the whole Regiment of Grenadier Guards." nationalinterest.org

I could not find as much info as to why the Danish use these hats, but I'm going to assume from the info I did find that they had the same idea as the British since the time of adoption was 10 years before the British.

"The Royal Life Guards are foot guards whose duties includes providing the guard for the Danish monarchy. Bearskins were introduced to make guardsmen appear taller and more intimidating. The headgear was first adopted by the guard in 1805." Wikipedia:Bearskin

Danish Royal Guard Company on the Queen's Birthday: Image.

Queen's Guard: Image.

  • 3
    I can't exactly say that Danish guards look that much similar to British guards.
    – Jos
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 6:27
  • Danish Royal Guard Company on the Queen's Birthday: Image. Queen's Guard: Image. Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 6:50
  • 1
    Completely different.
    – Jos
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 7:30
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    The English language WP article is available here. There are various explanations about why soldiers adopted red coats, including one from the 16th century and still current today that they concealed blood stains.
    – user55099
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 7:59
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    @Martin: Julius Ferretus claimed the red was to conceal blood stains in the 16th century, and the claim has been copied ever since, mostly by people who have never seen someone bleeding profusely. Not even aortal blood has that color, and if you're bleeding aortal blood, your wound will be very obvious because you'll drop to the gound one or two seconds later. If you would want to hide blood stains, you'd dye the uniform a dark brown.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 8:29

2 Answers 2


Both are historically grenadier units, wearing traditional uniforms.

At a time when the usual soldier headdress was a broad-rimmed hat, grenadiers were allowed to wear a brimless cap: The brim was impractical both when shouldering the musket to switch to grenades, as well as when actually throwing the grenade.

Covering the cap in bearskin started in France in the early 18th century, and spread across Europe from there.

(Source: de_WP: Grenadiermütze)

Red was a common color for uniforms. Red dye was cheapest, and camouflage was not a factor in the kind of warfare practiced at the time (regiments lining up and shooting volleys at each other).


The British grenadiers were awarded the wearing of a bearskin cap after defeating the French old guard at Waterloo.

Originally they didn't wear a bearskin cap, but a far less elaborate cap, called a mitre, that assisted their job, the throwing of hand grenades. That was a very dangerous job, which gave them elite status.

That mitre was quite different from the more common tricorn worn at the time, which made the throwing of hand grenades easier. When they were awarded a bearskin cap, throwing hand grenades had been abolished long before. (By that time, they no longer wore a mitre.)

So, the British grenadiers copied the French bearskin. Danish, Dutch and other grenadier units followed the French and later British examples. By then, it had become a military fashion item for guard regiments.

grenadier mitre Grenadier Mitre

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