The Duchess of Cornwall carried out her first engagement as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles Regiment earlier this week, visiting their barracks at Beachley Barracks in Gloucestershire on Monday.
Camilla became Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment following The Duke of Edinburgh’s retirement in July. The handover was made official at a ceremonial event at Windsor Castle; Camilla accepted the post at her own ceremonial event at Highgrove, in Gloucestershire.
During her visit on Monday, Camilla met with Riflemen who have recently completed the initial training at the Infantry Training Centre and are currently training at The Rifles Training Team at the barracks. The Riflemen will complete this training and then join their respective battalions.
Camilla was shown some of the training equipment and presented The Rifles Coin to the best Rifleman from the training course; afterwards, she attended a reception outdoors to meet the soldiers and their families in a socially-distanced manner.
According to the Clarence House social media accounts, “The Regiment surprised their new Colonel-in-Chief with a piece of music, called ‘The Duchess’, that was written by one of the buglers to mark her new appointment and first visit to the Battalion.”
Clarence House noted, “Over the past few months The 1st Battalion, The Rifles (1 RIFLES) has been deployed throughout Wales supporting the fight against Coronavirus. The assistance the battalion has provided to the civil authorities has included: the installation of hospital beds at the Dragon’s Heart Hospital in Cardiff, the deployment of ambulance drivers to support the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) and the deployment of COVID testing teams throughout Wales.”
The Rifles Regiment was formed on 1 February 2007 as part of the Future Army Structure. From its formation, Prince Philip had been the Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment. Prior to its formation, all of the regiments that make up The Rifles Regiment were part of the Light Division. Since its creation, The Rifles Regiment has been involved in combat overseas, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007, 2008 and 2009; and again in 2019.
Each battalion within The Rifles Regiment has its own royal colonel, though the Duchess is Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment. These royal colonels include Camilla (4th Battalion), The Earl and Countess of Wessex (2nd and 5th Battalions, respectively), The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (6th and 7th Battalions, respectively), The Duke of Kent (1st Battalion), and Princess Alexandra (3rd Battalion). The royal colonel of the 8th Battalion, The Rifles, has not yet been appointed.