Colonel-in-chief Camilla dons regimental coat dress for Rifles visit

·3-min read

The Duchess of Cornwall wore her new regimental coat dress for the first time as she met soldiers from The Rifles.

Camilla, who succeeded the Duke of Edinburgh as colonel-in-chief of the regiment last year, visited the 5th Battalion, which is based in Bulford, Wiltshire.

The battalion has recently returned from a seven-month operational tour to Estonia.

The duchess became colonel-in-chief in July 2020 in what was to be the last public engagement undertaken by Philip.

Camilla wore a dress designed by Fiona Clare underneath the green Rifles coat dress with black bugle buttons and Rifles brooch.

Duchess of Cornwall visits 5th Battalion The Rifles
The Duchess of Cornwall was greeted by Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hadfield (right), commanding officer of 5th Battalion The Rifles (Eddie Mullholland/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

On arrival, she met Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Sarah Troughton and Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hadfield, commanding officer of the battalion.

She presented several soldiers with long service and good conduct medals and also oversaw the ceremony appointing a new regimental serjeant major.

Addressing, the duchess, Lt Col Hadfield said: “It has been an extremely busy year for your 5th Battalion, with both preparation to deploy to Estonia, and the seven months deployed.

“It is our first week back from our post-operational tour leave and it is a really fitting moment to publicly say thank you to everybody here and also those members of the battalion who are not here.

“A huge thanks to you for visiting us and it means a huge amount for you to visit your regiment.”

In reply, Camilla said: “Can I say what a huge pleasure it is for me to come back to Bulford. I know it pretty well in my role as Royal Colonel of 4 Rifles and it is particularly nice to come back again and meet all of you for the first time and really to thank you for all you are doing on your wonderful tour of Estonia.

“I know it was very challenging. I also wanted to particularly thank all your families, your partners, for keeping the home fires burning while you were away and doing such a fantastic job keeping the morale up.

“I hope this will be first of many visits and how much I have enjoyed meeting you all and how proud I am now to be your colonel-in-chief.

“I hope to see you all again when more restrictions are lifted.”

Duchess of Cornwall visits 5th Battalion The Rifles
Camilla chatted with Colour Serjeant Jerry Wiredu, who was selected to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at Windsor Castle (Eddie Mullholland/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

Among the soldiers the duchess met was Colour Serjeant Jerry Wiredu, who was in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle for Philip’s funeral.

Sjt Wiredu, who was born in Ghana, joined the Army 13 years ago and was selected to take part due to the duke being a former colonel-in-chief of the regiment.

“It was the greatest honour to be part of it because he was our colonel-in-chief of our regiment and he had handed over duties,” he said.

“It was one of the last he handed over and it was the last public engagement he did.

“To be in the group of the ‘special relationship’ which he handpicked on such an occasion was heartwarming.

“I was in the Quadrangle with the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Army. The Army was made up of units that he handpicked to be there.”

Sjt Wiredu said he had recently returned from Estonia when he discovered he would be representing the battalion.

“I am from Ghana and I am a citizen of the Commonwealth, and have watched him over the years and seen his contribution to the Commonwealth and the Duke of Edinburgh Award, of which there are many beneficiaries in Ghana,” he said.

“I was awestruck to be there to represent the regiment and Ghana and the Commonwealth.”