Buckingham Palace has announced a royal shack-up of roles and titles; one of which will probably finally convince the disgraced Prince Andrew that his senior royal duty days are well and truly over; whilst for two of the female members of the family, there are “firsts” to be celebrated.
Queen Consort makes Colonel
The Queen Consort has been appointed as the new Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, a title proudly carried by the former Duke of York before he was stripped of that and his other honorary military titles, following the sexual assault allegations and the scandal that he found himself entrenched in, surrounding his controversial friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Camilla becomes the first female colonel in the 366-year history of the regiment.
First military role for Kate
The Princess of Wales has been elevated into her first military role as Colonel of the Irish Guards, a position held for a decade by her Husband William, the Prince of Wales, who himself has stepped up to the role of Colonel of the Welsh Guards.
That prestigious status was held by his father, King Charles III, for an incredible 47 years.
Charles is Colonel-in-Chief
The Household Division’s other regiments that have royals sitting at their head as Colonels will remain untouched; including Princess Anne as Colonel of the Blues and Royals, and the Duke of Kent as Colonel of the Scots Guards; with His Majesty the King holding the title of Colonel-in-Chief.
More misery for beleaguered Andrew
For Andrew, 61, it is another kick in the teeth, this time delivered by his elder brother who had left his younger sibling apparently “blind-sided” following their mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September, when it was made abundantly clear that there was absolutely no way back for him with regards to resuming royal duties.
The Prince was reportedly reduced to tears, both then and again several days later when he was told he was banned from wearing military uniform to his mother’s funeral.
Trooping of the Colour date announced
Also announced in the same release was the date for next year’s Trooping of the Colour, which will represent the King’s first public celebration after his coronation, which will take place on 6 May. The annual parade will mark the new monarch’s official birthday on Saturday 17 June (his actual birthday is in November), following a similar pattern to Her Majesty the Queen, who also had an official birthday in the summer, to make the most of the better weather.
Both the King and Prince William will ride horseback in the pageantry, which has been celebrated for more than 260 years.
A parade as only the British know how
There will be more than 1,400 soldiers, with over 200 horses and around 400 army musicians taking part in a ceremony that demonstrates military precision, and horsemanship at its outstanding best.
The streets are always lined with crowds, six or seven deep in places, all joining in the occasion, waving flags and cheering as the parade moves from Buckingham Palace, down the Mall, and on to Horse Guard’s Parade, in Whitehall.
The King will be greeted by a Royal salute, before he carries out an inspection of the fully trained and operational troops, wearing the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats.
Then after the Foot Guards have marched past His Majesty, he will ride back to the Palace at the head of the soldiers, before taking one last salute. He will then be joined by other Members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past by the Royal Air Force, ending with the spectacular Red Arrows display team.
Tradition dating back centuries
The custom of Trooping the Colour dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th Century when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle, and were consequently trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure that every man could recognise those of his own regiment.
After George III became King in 1760, it was ordered that parades should mark the King’s Birthday, and from the accession of George IV they became, with a few exceptions and notably the two World Wars, an annual event.
A less formal tradition loved by the Queen is upheld by Charles
On the subject of traditions, and with Christmas approaching fast, King Charles carried out one of his mother’s favourite pre-Christmas practices earlier this week, when he held a huge lunch party for his extended family, before heading off to Sandringham, where Camilla and he will stay over the festive period.
The only difference with this party was that this one was held at Windsor Castle rather than Buckingham Palace, where it usually had taken place. Amongst the guests spotted were Prince Edward, Sophie Wessex and their 19-year-old daughter Lady Louise Windsor. His big sister, Princess Anne, was there with her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, along with her daughter Zara and son-in-law Mike Tindall – fresh from his stint on the ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!
It is the first event of this nature to be held since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and also the first to be held since 2019, with the last two falling victim to the restrictions placed on the country, during the Covid pandemic.