Year released: 2001-2006
Appears in sets 7264-1, Imperial Inspection; 7166-1, Imperial Shuttle; 6211-1, Imperial Star Destroyer
The Emperor's Royal Guard, also known as the Imperial Royal Guard, the Imperial Guard, or simply the Royal Guard, and under the Galactic Republic as the Red Guard, was an elite unit whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Galactic Emperor. Fully clad in crimson robes and face-concealing helmets, the Emperor's guards were a silent, imposing, and deadly force armed with force pikes. In addition to strict requirements of size, strength, intelligence, and loyalty, only the most skilled soldiers in the Imperial Military qualified for duty in the Royal Guard. The Imperial Royal Guard were also occasionally assigned to provide protection to members of the Imperial Ruling Council and Lord Vader.
The origins of the crimson-clad Royal Guard dated back to the time of the Separatist Crisis, when Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine crafted an order of protectors, named the Red Guard, that stood apart from the cerulean-clad Senate Guard during the Galactic Republic's twilight. Over the course of the Clone Wars, the Red Guard gradually supplanted the Senate Guard and its elite sub-unit, the Senate Commandos, as the chancellor's bodyguards. By the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine proclaimed himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire. As a result, Senate Guards were completely phased out of service and replaced by the chancellor's Red Guards, who were henceforth known as the Royal Guard.
Emperor Palpatine sealed himself away from the populace throughout his reign. On the rare occasions of his public appearances, he was always accompanied by members of the Royal Guard. In the decades that followed Palpatine's death and the subsequent fall of the Empire, a new order of protectors was crafted by Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order. Modeled on the Emperor's Royal Guard, the Elite Praetorian Guard consisted of eight warriors who wore ornate crimson armor, wielded an array of melee weapons, and specialized in martial arts.
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