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The KentsThe Queen

Chaplain reads out The Queen’s good wishes as she misses military event

Queen Elizabeth II
Stephen Lock/ i-Images

The Queen has sent her “warmest good wishes” from Balmoral to those attending a service marking the 50th anniversary of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

The monarch was due to travel by helicopter to the event on the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on Friday. However, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday night The Queen would no longer attend due to a bad weather forecast that could disrupt her travel plans. The Queen has been staying at her private Scottish estate of Balmoral, where she traditionally spends her summer break.

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The Duke of Kent, the regiment’s deputy colonel-in-chief, attended the drumhead service commemorating the formation of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 1971, the deputy was set to accompany The Queen, the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief. Addressing the Duke, servicemen, and women, veterans, and others gathered on the palace grounds, the Regimental Association chaplain, the Rev John Murdoch, said: “You may have seen in the order of service that Her Majesty The Queen was due to be with us today.

“With much regret, Her Majesty concluded yesterday that she would be unable to attend today’s service owing to predicted weather conditions for this morning which suggested travel disruption was likely.

“Her Majesty sends her warmest good wishes to everyone here today from Balmoral, and her thoughts are with you all as you celebrate your 50th anniversary.”

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In a statement Thursday night, the palace said The Queen “wishes to avoid any delay to the service.” Leading the service, Murdoch urged those in attendance to remember the formation of the regiment on 2 July 1971 – the date the 3rd Carabiniers and The Royal Scots Greys were amalgamated in front of The Queen and the Duke of Kent in Holyrood Park, just beside the palace.

Veteran John Rochester, a former sergeant major of the regiment, was in attendance Friday. Having serviced in West Germany, Northern Ireland, Canada, Belize, and the Gulf during his 22 years in the Army, the 67-year-old spoke on having The Queen send down her well-wishes.

Rochester said:  “The service is a reflection of all that we stand for as a regiment – looking after each other, supporting the ideals the regiment has held not just since amalgamation but all the way back to 1678.

“Having The Queen send her word down and having the deputy colonel-in-chief, the Duke of Kent, here, it’s the same as The Queen being here.

“The Queen can’t be everywhere, and at her age, she shouldn’t be.”

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The recent events in Afghanistan were also highlighted. There was a moment’s silence for those in Afghanistan and for the fallen of the regiment, including those who died of the coronavirus. A wreath was laid at an altar made of the regiment’s drum, created as part of the drumhead service, which is traditionally held in the field during armed conflict. The tradition dates back to the 1700s, when there was a lack of transport for church. Then, the regiment’s padre would conduct the service in the field, allowing them to pay tribute to fallen comrades.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.