Corona Veniet Delectis
Victory Shall Come to the Worthy
-Motto of the Queens' Guard
The image of The College of William and Mary is embodied in the majestic thread of Spirit that truly knits the generations, each to each. Whether measured in the mute eloquence of reflection on days that were, or in eager anticipation of days that are to be, it binds forever the glories of the past with a promise of an illustrious future.
As a symbolic memorial to those who by inspired example have bequeathed to use the challenge of worthy greatness, the Queens' Guard is conceived and dedicated.
Davis Y. Paschall
The President's House
On several occasions in its long and eventful history, the College has been honored by the recognition and patronage of reigning queens of Great Britain. Her Majesty Queen Mary II, with her joint sovereign King William III, granted a royal charter to the College on February 8, 1693. The College of William and Mary in Virginia thus became the first institution of higher education in North America of royal foundation.
A few years after the granting of the charter, on the night of October 5, 1705, the College was destroyed by a fire which swept through the Sir Christopher Wren Building. For almost three years this small college in Virginia struggled for existence. But by royal proclamation in March, 1708, Queen Anne bestowed upon the College of William and Mary in Virginia the sum of one thousand nine hundred and eighty-five pounds, fifteen shillings, and ten pence, for the purpose of rebuilding. This timely assistance insured the continuance of this institution.
In 1957, on the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in the New World at Jamestown, memories of Queen Mary and Queen Anne were renewed by the visit to the College of the reigning monarch of England, Queen Elizabeth II. During her visit to the College on October 16, 1957, selected members of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps served as an honor guard for Her Majesty and His Royal Highness.
A successor to this honor guard, known as The Queens' Guard, has been established in recognition of the honors bestowed upon the College of William and Mary in Virginia by Queen Mary II, Queen Anne, and Queen Elizabeth II.
On February 8, 1961, the two hundred and sixty-eighth anniversary of the granting of the royal charter to the College of William and Mary in Virginia, President Davis Y. Paschall approved the formation of a special unit of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps to be designated The Queens' Guard. In a public announcement he described the Guard as "a unit organized, outfitted with special uniforms, and trained in appropriate drills and ceremonies as will represent the College of William and Mary in Virginia on such occasions and in such events as may be approved by the President." Patrons of the Guard include the study body of the College of William and Mary, the Alumni Association, and Friends of the College.
Today, The Queens’ Guard is an independent student organization comprised of both ROTC Cadets and civilians and holds membership as Company W-4 of the National Society of Pershing Rifles.
The uniform of The Queens' Guard is in keeping with the traditions of the College and is symbolic of the monarchs whom The Queens' Guard will recognize.
The headdress is a black sealskin Grenadier's cap, having a black visor edged with gold. The cap, worn with a brass chin-chain, bears a gold sunburst, an emblem in the coat of arms of the College. Alternatively, red berets bearing a Pershing Rifles rank shield are worn.
The coat is a single-breasted scarlet tunic, faced with black and piped with gold. The black slash cuffs, on which the crown slash is white, are piped with gold, and the slash bears three gold buttons. The buttons of the tunic are also grouped in threes. The tunic is worn with a white belt and a gold buckle. The black shoulder straps of the tunic are piped with gold and bear a gold button. The baldric is a pleated Stuart tartan, in honor of Queen Mary II and Queen Anne.
The black and gold facings are in honor of King William III, whose crest contains these colors. The Stuart tartan terminates in two gold tassels; this juxtaposition signifies the union of the house of Stuart and the house of Orange.
The black trousers of the uniform have a narrow scarlet stripe. Black shoes and white gloves are worn.
A phoenix on the field of ermine is chosen for the insignia of The Queens' Guard. The phoenix, modified in the insignia to suggest the American eagle, rises from its own ashes, a symbol of rebirth from destruction employed in literary allusion to the College of William and Mary in Virginia and, in a high sense, to its immortality. The Shield bordered on the lower part by a scroll bearing the motto and on the top by a torse. The torse is topped with three spears, a crown bearing the cross of St. George, and a cord suggesting the cypher of the College.