Prince Harry is to become regimental Colonel of the Life Guards – one of the two regiments that make up the Household Cavalry – after he leaves the Army in June the Sunday Express reports this week.
The appointment, reportedly now being finalised, is said to be beginning next year after the current colonel of the regiment Lord Guthrie steps down. It will be Prince Harry’s first royal colonelcy and will mean he joins other members of the Royal Family among the seven regular Household Division colonels and also joining his aunt Princess Anne as one of the two Household Cavalry colonels (she’s Colonel of the Blues and Royals, Harry’s own regiment).
Although the post carries the title of ‘colonel’, Harry won’t be jumping through the ranks any time soon – it’s a ceremonial appointment!
Kensington Palace announced last week that Captain Wales would be leaving the Army in June after 10 years service. Before leaving operational service, Prince Harry will spend four weeks in April and May seconded to the Australian Defence Force, where he will be attached to various units to gain an appreciation of the Australian Army’s “domestic operating environment and capabilities”.
During this final attachment, Harry will travel with Prince Charles to Turkey for Gallipoli commemorations at the end of April. He’ll also undertake a tour of New Zealand the following month after his attachment concludes. The Palace say after he leaves operational service in June, he’ll perform a number of engagements and work with conservation projects in Africa and later in Autumn, he’ll return to work with the Armed Forces in a voluntary capacity with the MoD’s Recovery Capability Programme for a short while.
Harry will also be looking for a new job to take up afterwards, much like his brother Prince William who has just passed exams for his new role as an Air Ambulance pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance service.
A position as the Life Guards’ colonel will mean a greater royal role for Harry too, including attending ceremonial events with the regiment as well as staying in contact with officers and men of its ceremonial and operational squadrons.
He’ll also be swapping his blue Blues and Royals tunic for a red one and will, for the first time (after his eventual appointment), ride on horseback at the Queen’s Birthday Parade in full ceremonial kit.
While The Queen remains Colonel-in-Chief of all seven regimens of the Household Division, each also has its own regimental colonel – another member of the Royal Family who individually represents and is involved with the regiment. The most recently appointed was Prince William who was made Colonel of the Irish Guards back in 2011 shortly before his wedding. He notably wore the full dress of the regiment to his wedding that year.
Some commentators had earmarked the possibility of Prince Harry taking up colonelcy of the Scots Guards in succession to the Duke of Kent, who now no longer rides on horseback to the annual Trooping the Colour owing to a recent stroke and advancing age. The Queen herself gave up riding on horseback on the parade back in 1986 after which she started travelling in a carriage to the parade each year.
The appointment is not expected to be made formally for some time yet.