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by Major G V A Baker
Regimental Adjutant, Grenadier Guards

On 1st December 2017, HRH The Duke of York was appointed as Colonel, Grenadier Guards, in succession to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who had served as Colonel for over 42 years. The time that Prince Philip gave to the role, the interest that he showed in it, and his wise counsel, have been hugely appreciated by Grenadiers past and present over all these years. We are very grateful to him.

The Parade formed up in St George’s Hall
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel P L Ashfield, DSO, with The Queen and The Colonel prior to the Inspection

The Queen, accompanied by Colonel R E H Aubrey-Fletcher, talking to Sgt Kamal Richards at the Reception; Gdsm Samuel Tudor and Kyle Foggerty are looking on

On 22nd March 2018, a parade was held in St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle, in the presence of HM The Queen, to mark Prince Andrew’s appointment. It had been intended that The Duke of Edinburgh would also attend, but sadly he was indisposed on the day.

Two detachments, one found by The Queen’s Company and the other by Nijmegen Company, with the Colours of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, commanded by the Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel P L Ashfield, DSO, marched into St George’s Hall.  The Regimental Band played from the gallery above, watched by 90 guests, drawn from all parts of the Regimental Family.

Once the detachments were ‘steady’, The Queen and The Colonel, accompanied by the Regimental Lieutenant Colonel, Major-General C R V Walker, DSO, the President of the Association, Colonel R E H Aubrey-Fletcher, and the Regimental Adjutant, Major G V A Baker, entered the Hall to a fanfare played by Musicians of the Regimental Band, and were then greeted by a Royal Salute.

The Colonel inspected the two detachments whilst the Band played incidental music. Thereafter, the Regimental Lieutenant Colonel gave an address paying tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh and welcoming Prince Andrew as our new Colonel. Prince Andrew replied most graciously.

After the order ‘Remove head-dress’ there followed three cheers for HRH The Colonel and then a final Royal Salute after which the two detachments marched off.

After the Parade, The Queen and The Colonel met the Regimental Trustees and former Regimental Lieutenant Colonels and then honoured the Officers and Warrant Officers of the 1st Battalion, Nijmegen Company and the Regimental Band by sitting for a photograph with them.

A Reception followed, most generously given by Her Majesty, during which The Queen and The Colonel spoke to many of those who had been on Parade and the guests.

Three Cheers for HRH The Colonel
HRH The Colonel talking to Sgt Ben Hayden and
LSgt Reuben Elliott at the Reception

It was a very happy occasion, and a most enjoyable reunion for all those lucky enough to attend. In retrospect, two impressions stand out: firstly, the symmetry and precision of the two detachments after very limited rehearsal time, and secondly the very evident delight of the Guardsmen to be drinking champagne with their Sovereign, their Colonel, and the Major General Commanding the Household Division. Of course, the only sadness was the absence of The Duke of Edinburgh.

To put the Colonelcy in perspective, since the formation of the Regiment in 1656, there have been 26 Colonels of the Regiment. Of these, six have been the sons of Sovereigns and one the consort of Queen Victoria. On 21st April 1942, on her sixteenth birthday, and while the nation was at war, Princess Elizabeth was appointed Colonel, becoming Colonel-in-Chief on her accession to the throne in 1952. In 1975, Prince Philip became Colonel and his 42 years’ service make him the second longest serving Colonel of the Regiment, in between the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Connaught, who held the post for forty-three and thirty-eight years respectively.

There have been several non-royal Colonels, most notably the Duke of Marlborough in the 18th century, the Duke of Wellington in the 19th century, and Major General Lord Jeffreys and Major General Sir Alan Adair in the 20th century.

All present in St George’s Hall on 22nd March 2018, those on parade and spectators alike, were privileged to have witnessed Prince Andrew’s appointment as the twenty-sixth Colonel of the Regiment and wish him every success as a Grenadier in the years to come.

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