Camilla remembers her father during visit to Royal Lancers

It was The Queen's first visit since becoming their Cololnel

Queen Camilla conducted a special engagement on Monday,, with a visit to Catterick Garrison in her role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Lancers.

This was her first visit to the North Yorkshire regiment since being appointed in June 2023.

Camilla conducted her first engagement as Colonel in Chief of the Royal Lancers. (Royal Family)

The engagement and position as Colonel-in-Chief holds a special meaning to Her Majesty, as her late father, Major Bruce Shand, served with the 12th Lancers during the Second World War. He won a Military Cross during the withdrawal to Dunkirk in 1940 and later again in 1942 during the Second Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, making him part of the ‘Desert Rats’.

Major Shand was later captured on 6th November 1942, during a battle in which the crew of his armoured car were both killed and Shand himself severely wounded. He was held in Spangenberg Castle until he escaped in early 1945. Major Shand left the army after the War.

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Upon arrival, The Queen was received by the Lord Lieutenant, Jo Ropner, and Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel Richard Charrington, where she then received a Royal Salute before inspecting some of the 152 Lancers on parade.

Also on display was a number of armoured vehicles, which included the HUMBER and DINGO from the conflict, once commanded by The Queen’s late father, as well as the contemporary WARRIOR and BULLDOG vehicles.

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Her Majesty’s outfit was also a tribute to the Lancers uniform; Camilla opted to wear a Fiona Clare dress coat modelled on the Lancer’s uniform, which featured a red mandarin collar with Chain Mail shoulder detail. The designer’s son is a Captain within the Royal Lancers and was in attendance, too.

Camilla paired her outfit the Lancers brooch which previously belonged to the late Elizabeth II.

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Camilla gave a speech to those present at the Catterick Garrison, in which she said she felt ‘very proud’ to be conducting the visit and recalled her father’s description of his initial impressions of the 12th Lancers, when he joined the regiment back in 1937.

‘In his memoir, Previous Engagements, he wrote: “Everyone was very welcoming and the atmosphere was relaxed…I was taken under the wing of the Adjutant, as nice a man as ever lived and a quietly efficient soldier.

“I was profoundly indebted to him as he not only pulled me out of various scrapes, without necessarily informing the Colonel, but also judiciously handed me over to certain senior NCOs, who took my education in hand and tactfully but firmly directed my floundering steps. They were very competent nannies with a decidedly un-nannylike capacity for beer”.’

Speaking about the atmosphere amongst today’s Lancers, Her Majesty was pleased to see that it ‘remains welcoming and relaxed and that you still have a very nice, quietly efficient Adjutant’ but joked that she won’t ‘ask about the NCOs capacity for beer’.

Camilla inspected some of the regiment’s soliders. (Royal Family)

The Queen stated that she has always known the Lancers for their ‘family spirit’, which she experienced as the daughter of a solider in the regiment and was pleased to see many ‘families and members of the Old Comrades Association’ present.

‘During the British Expeditionary Force’s withdrawal to Dunkirk, battling against insidious tiredness, poor mapping, and an ever-advancing enemy force, my father reflected: “My troop were wonderful” and “I know as a Troop Leader how much I owe to these…soldiers”.’

Camilla concluded her speech by stating how the ‘fierce Lancers camaraderie will be replicated as you strive to make our world a safer place’.

Queen Camilla was shown a tunic that belonged to her father. (Royal Family)

Following the parade, The Queen met families and members of the Old Comrades Association at a reception, where she was shown a tunic belonging to her late father, which is to be put on public display at the Regimental Museum in Derby. Also on show was a letter signed by Queen Camilla’s father and a photograph of Veteran Royal Lancers, including Major Bruce Shand.

Finally, Camilla presented five Buchan Medals to serving and retired Lancers. The medal is awarded to any serving or retired member of The Royal Lancers or its antecedents, who has contributed to the efficiency or military honour of the Regiment over a protracted period.

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