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The Swiss Guards were regiments of Swiss mercenaries hired to protect the French Sovereign and his places of residence.
* I admire the Swiss. I almost feel half-Swiss. I'd make the argument for Swiss cheese being the best in the world, but it would probably be full of holes.
These Swiss regiments were highly sought after in Europe since the Swiss cantons were reputed to produce good, obedient and ferocious soldiers. By the end of the 15th century, the Swiss Hundred Guard ("Cent Suisses") was created and regularly stationed in Paris. By the middle of the 18th century, the protection of the Champs-Élysées was entrusted to a detachment of ten or so soldiers tasked with maintaining order and arresting lawbreakers. During the Revolution, members of the Swiss Guard would protect Louis XVI at the Château des Tuileries, but were overwhelmed and massacred on August 10, 1792, once the Sovereign and his family had taken refuge in the salle du Manège, where the National Convention was held, and where the Monarch would later be judged. **
** On reflection, might I quickly apologise for the Swiss cheese/argument joke I just made? I've not been feeling well lately.