From 1688 to 1751 the regiment was known by the name of its various colonels. The regiment saw service in the Flanders from 1694 to 1697, before moving to Ireland. In 1701 the regiment moved to the continent of Europe, and took part in the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1709 the unit returned to England, moving to Minorca in 1725.
In 1751 a royal warrant assigned numbers to the regiments of the line, and the unit became the 17th Regiment of Foot. It saw service during the French and Indian War at Louisbourg in 1758, Ticonderoga in 1759, and in Caribbean engagements in 1761 and 1762. Following that war it also saw duty during Pontiac's Rebellion before eventually returning to England in 1767. The 17th were again in service during the American War of Independence, landing in Boston on New Year's Day 1776. The regiment's performance at the Battle of Princeton was commemorated in the addition of an unbroken laurel wreath to its insignia. Several companies were captured at the Battle of Stony Point by a daring night-time bayonet charge by "Mad" Anthony Wayne. The regiment moved to Nova Scotia before returning to England in 1786.
A royal warrant dated 31 August 1782 bestowed county titles on all regiments of foot that did not already have a special designation "to cultivate a connection with the County which might at all times be useful towards recruiting". The regiment became the 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot.
The regiment was increased to two battalions in 1799 and both battalions served in the Netherlands before the second was disbanded in 1802. In 1804 the 17th moved to India, and remained there until 1823. In 1825 the regiment was granted the badge of a "royal tiger" to recall their long service in the sub-continent