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Prince & Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales pays first visit as Colonel to 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards

The Princess of Wales has paid her first visit to the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards at Robertson Barracks in Dareham, since becoming Colonel-in-Chief back in August.

According to their official British Army website, the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards specialise in reconnaissance, “the art of seeking out the enemy and understanding how they operate.”

They were formed in 1685, before the formation of the British Army, and have adapted and modified to the times ever since.

During her visit, Catherine drove a Jackal 2 armoured vehicle—a seven-tonne vehicle—under the directions of Corporal Darreyl Tukana, the driving instructor, who later told The Telegraph that “she was a natural.”

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Corporal Tukana continued: “She drives a Land Rover back at home – I told her it’s exactly the same, just take it slowly and go back to where we started off from. She was enjoying every bit of the journey itself … It’s different from what she’s driving, it’s a bigger vehicle.”

Catherine could be overheard telling Corporal Tukana: “It’s very responsive actually, given the size of the thing.”

Elsewhere, the royal met with senior officers and learned more about their operational standards and communication devices. She had the chance to fly a drone around the grounds, seeing how it could be used for reconnaissance.

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The royal also met with military personnel and their families, handing out good conduct and long service medals and recognising those who have been lost ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

And a moment of levity came when Catherine promoted the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards’ pony mascot, Emrys Jones, a Welsh Mountain Pony.

Before she left, Catherine was presented with the Queen’s Dragoon Guards brooch, which had been created in 1959 for The Queen Mother, who once served as the Guards’ colonel-in-chief as well.

Kensington Palace shared details of Catherine’s visit on social media, captioning it: “A pleasure to meet with members of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards and newly promoted Bay Welsh Mountain pony, Trooper ‘Longface’ Emrys Jones, in Norfolk today. Looking forward to working with you in the years ahead.”

Catherine’s other military appointments include the more recent Colonel of the Irish Guards and Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm and older appointments like Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, Royal Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Coningsby, and Lady Sponsor of the HMS Glasgow.

Photo by Cpl Danny Houghton (UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023)

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.