The Palace Grenadiers Company, was a special honour military unit under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Imperial Court. The company was established by Emperor Nicholas I in 1827 and staffed with enlisted guards who had distinguished themselves in the course of the Patriotic War of 1812 (120 men, including 69 recipients of the Order of St. George). The company was later expanded with veteran guards (also by army veterans from 1900) who had served exceptionally for no less than 20 years and gained special honours in wars. The officers’ staff of the company could include only those promoted from the lower ranks and awarded with the Soldiers' Cross of St. George.
The Palace Grenadiers were unofficially known as the "Golden company" for their rich and ornate red and gold coloured uniforms. Their bearskin hats were similar to those of Napoleon I’s grenadiers and looked somewhat exotic in Russia. Gold braids were widely used even on their belts in red and gold. Their regimental holiday was marked on 19 December (O.S. 6 December), day of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker.
The Palace Grenadiers Company performed the most exclusive honour guard duties at the Imperial residences, including escorting the Emperor during major state ceremonies and standing guard over monuments to the Patriotic War of 1812. The company was disbanded in 1917. Its quarters were located in the Winter Palace, at the Guards Corps headquarters at 33 Millionnaya Street, among other locations.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 October, 2013