Star Wars - Episode III.V - Rebellion Ascendant
Imperial Royal Guard
The Emperor’s Royal Guard, also called Imperial Royal Guard and the Imperial Guard, was a highly elite guard unit tasked with the protection of Emperor Palpatine. The Emperor was almost never seen without a detachment of Royal Guards at his side, so much that they usually accompanied him to his bed chambers and his office within the Senate. The Emperor’s Royal Guard was the successor to the Republic’s Red Guard.
The exact number of Royal Guardsmen serving the Emperor was unknown, with speculations ranging from less than fifty to tens of thousands, although their numbers were estimated to be at least four hundred at any one point. Like the Stormtroopers of the Stormtrooper Corps, the Royal Guards formed a military unit independent of the Imperial Military and directly answerable to the Emperor.
This group was rumored for being a fierce fighting force and were personally hand picked by the Emperor to serve as his bodyguards. They were indoctrinated in the service of the Emperor to the point that they were completely subservient to his will. The members of this bodyguard detail were completely devoted to Palpatine and gladly gave their lives in his service.
Those individuals that were part of the organization were trained to serve the Emperor loyally and completely. They would instantly turn against one another if commanded to do so and killed their fellow guardsmen without hesitation though they did feel remorse for doing so. They were so well trained that even when injured, they did not ask for mercy and none was afforded to them.
It was never known how many members were present within the ranks of the Royal Guard because of the fact that they never fought as a unit. The knowledge of the number of these soldiers was made available to only the top Imperial officers and the Emperor himself. Speculation claimed that their numbers ranged from fifty to tens of thousands. All that was ultimately known was that they were a potent sub-unit within the Imperial military that was under the direct service of the Emperor. The only records regarding their exact number remained with Palpatine, in his private archives on Imperial Center.
The primary duties of the Imperial Guard included the personal protection of Palpatine and those he designated. This task was considered the most prestigious and was usually reserved for the Sovereign Protectors. They were also involved with the security arrangements at the Imperial Palace. Being Palpatine’s protectors meant that their mission involving stopping any assassination attempts on the Emperor’s life as well as performing covert assault and even serving as assassins for their master. At least two guardsmen were always by Palpatine’s side and within earshot of his Imperial Majesty at all times.
During their service, they quickly became one of the most recognizable units within the Empire which was attributed largely to their unique armor. With their primary mission to protect the Emperor and any one he designated, the Royal Guard was never sent on combat missions as a corps. Instead, a few small elements of Royal Guardsmen were sent into combat on a rotating basis to keep them in fighting trim, appearing as and working alongside the usual stormtroopers. During such operations, they were always together as part of the same unit. This meant that they were never dispersed among the ordinary army units.