Queen Camilla visits Grenadier Guards for the first time as their new Colonel

The visit marked the beginning of the regiment's affiliation with the Queen Consort

Yesterday, The Queen visited members of the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, marking her first visit to visit the regiment since she becoming their new Colonel last month.

The 1st Battalion will feature in The King’s coronation later this year. 

Her Majesty spoke to members of the regiment in a reception. (@RoyalFamily)

Upon arrival, Camilla was greeted by Major General James Bowder, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Johnson, Major James Gatehouse and Warrant Officer Dean Bailey, before being briefed in private by Lt Col Johnson on the Battalion’s deployments and plans for 2023.

Her Majesty then moved to speak to 30 officers in a small reception where she received a champagne toast to commemorate her first visit and appointment to the role.

Speaking during the visit, The Queen said: ‘Thank you very much, it has been a pleasure to be here. I look forward to seeing a lot more of you in the future.’

Grenadier Guards are the most senior of the five foot regiments of the Household Division, the most senior army group in the UK; they famously wear red tunics and bear skins when on duty guarding the palaces. The Grenadiers are distinguishable by the small grenade emblem on their collar, the white feather plume in their bearskin, and equally-spaced buttons down their front.

The Queen then took the opportunity to participate in a group photograph on the steps of the officers’ mess. Two officers sat on the floor in a hope to recreate a photo taken in 2017 with the Duke of Edinburgh when he was colonel.

The Queen visited thee 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. (@RoyalFamily)

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Second Lieutenant Archie Deninson-Smith, said The Queen asked ‘if I was okay and then she asked why the two junior officers were on the floor. It was a nod to recreating that picture. We explained why it was.’

After meeting her in the drinks reception, Denison-Smith commented said: ‘She was incredibly charming and it was very humbling. She was very interested and engaged, and willing to talk to everyone. We are really, really honoured to have her as our new colonel.’

During the visit, Queen Camilla presented a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal to Sergeant Scott Howcroft, as well as a medal bar, which marks an additional 10 years service, to Colour Sergeant Colin Fiddy. 

She also presented operational service medals to 10 officers and soldiers to honour their efforts in Iraq. Her Majesty heard how all the troops receive the medal, but it is only a few individuals picked to have their medal presented by The Queen. 

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Sgt Hadfield is awarded the Iraq and Syria medal for Operation Shader by Her Majesty The Queen Consort (UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023/SSgt Dek Traylor)

Lt. Col. Johnson said Her Majesty ‘was wonderful, and it was a very special moment for us to introduce our new colonel. We found out in early January, and we’re excited that she wanted to come and see us so quickly.’

The role of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards was held by The Duke of York, until he stepped down from royal duties following the lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre and handed his military titles back to the Queen. Previously this was Prince Philip’s colonelship.

Her Majesty holds several military titles and patronages: she is Colonel in Chief of The Rifles, a title she took over from the Duke of Edinburgh in 2020. The passing of the Colonel in Chief role saw Prince Philip appear at Windsor Castle, where he had been isolating with The Queen during the pandemic, with the then-Duchess of Cornwall at Highgrove House for the ceremony.

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