For Capt James Aubrey, of The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), being one of two assistant equerries to His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has been the greatest honour so far in his British Army career.
An equerry is as a military officer who supports a Senior Royal; responsible for managing diaries, invitations and accompanying members of The Royal Family to events, making sure things run to time. They also undertake some of the correspondence.
James, aged 29, never in his wildest dreams thought he would be given such an important role, supporting one of the Senior Royals. And, despite Prince Philip stepping down from public duties in 2017, James has been on hand to assist at Royal Events and supporting other members of the Royal family during his two years in the post.
Prince Philip became Colonel-in-Chief of the REME in July 1969, taking over from his cousin HRH The Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. The bond has always been strong with Prince Philip making many visits to the REME over the years.
“I first met His Royal Highness when we sat together at a young Officers’ dinner at West Court Officers’ Mess in 2015,” said James, and an engineering Officer. “It was not long before the REME moved to their new home at Lyneham.”
Subsequently, James met The Duke of Edinburgh in March 2016 at the opening of The Prince Philip Barracks at the former RAF Lyneham site. James designed the plaque that Prince Philip unveiled and remembered it as a proud moment.
However, the greatest honour for James came when he represented His Royal Highness at the Cenotaph in 2019, laying a wreath on behalf of Prince Philip during the Remembrance commemorations. The eyes of the nation were on James, who said he was “privileged to have been given the honour”.
Having completed an engineering degree at Birmingham University, James joined the Army in 2012. He wanted to serve his country from the age of 13, having been enticed by a double page spread about Welbeck College. He commissioned into the REME and has never looked back.
“I’m from a farming background,” says James. “My family runs a farm in Herefordshire. There’s no military in the family at all. I think they were surprised when I said that I wanted to join, but they’re proud of me.”
Being an equerry is one of three roles James has. He’s also the Corps Adjutant, supporting the Corps Colonel, and he’s the military assistant to the Master General REME Lieutenant, General Paul Jaques CB CBE.
James is currently taking part in rehearsals for the funeral on Saturday, where he will be looking after the Master General. “It’s an honour to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral,” he said.