The Gardes du Corps (Regiment der Gardes du Corps) was the personal bodyguard of the king of Prussia and after 1871, the German emperor (in German: Kaiser). It was founded in 1740 by Frederick the Great with Friedrich von Blumenthal as its first commander. He died suddenly in 1745, but his brother Hans von Blumenthal, who, with the other officers of the regiment had won the Pour le Mérite at its first action at Hohenfriedberg, assumed command in 1747. Hans von Blumenthal was wounded leading the regiment in a successful cavalry charge at Lobositz and had to retire from the army. Initially the regiment was used partly as a training ground for officers as part of a programme of expansion of the cavalry. Early officers included the rake and memoirist Friedrich von der Trenck, who describes the arduous life of sleep deprivation and physical stress endured by officers, as well as the huge cost of belonging. The Cuirasses, for example, were silver-plated.
Unlike the rest of the Imperial German Army, the Garde du Corps was recruited nationally and eventually reached a full corps strength. The Regiment wore a white cuirassier uniform with certain special distinctions in full dress. These included a red tunic for officers in court dress and a white metal eagle poised as if to fly on the bronze helmet. Other unique features of the regiment's full dress worn until 1914 included a sleeveless supraweste with the star of the Order of the Black Eagle on front and back and the retention of black iron cuirasses edged with red, which had been presented by the Russian Tsar in 1814. These replaced the normal white metal breastplates on certain special occasions.