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British Royals

The role held by the Duke of Kent for an historic half century

The Duke of Kent might be stepping aside as Colonel of the Scots Guards but he has claimed a place in the history books as he does so.

The Duke, 88, has held the role for 50 years, the longest tenure of anyone as Colonel of the Regiment.

Prince Edward will formally retire from the role on April 14th 2024 after taking part in commemorations at the annual Black Sunday events held by the Scots Guards. Every year, they hold a special service to remember all those lost while on duty.

After the service, the Duke of Kent will take the salute at a parade of the Scots Guards for the final time before handing the role of Colonel on to the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke of Kent was made Colonel of the Scots Guards in 1974 and over that time has supported the regiment’s work in many ways. He travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan to meet soldiers on mission there and has spoken of his pride in their bravery in peace and in war.

As he began his 50th year as Colonel, the regiment paid a special tribute to him. In September 2023, at their annual meeting, the Duke was given three cheers while a specially composed pipe tune called ‘The Colonel’ was performed in his honour by the Pipes and Drums.

As he stepped aside, the Duke said ”“Serving as Colonel of the Scots Guards since 1974, the longest anyone has spent in this role, has been a true honour and one which will forever fill me with great joy. Through those years, I have seen the work of the Scots Guards during peacetime and war and witnessed their bravery, selfless courage and devotion to duty.

The Regimental Lieutenant Colonel of the Scots Guards, Colonel JDL Leask, paid tribute to the Colonel as he said ”The Duke of Kent has been at the helm of the Scots Guards for fifty years. He is the only Colonel most of us have known. He has been a constant in a rapidly changing world. His loyalty to the Regiment and selfless commitment to the country has been an example to us all.

From April 15th 2024, the Colonel of the Scots Guards will be The Duke of Edinburgh.

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About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.