“The Duke of Edinburgh would stand with us and roar with laughter” – The Duke’s deep connection with the Army in Scotland

His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh had a deep connection with Scotland, and more specifically with the Army in Scotland, that lasted for most of his life.

For decades the Prince would travel up to Scotland with Her Majesty, The Queen, at the end of June where they would participate in Royal Week at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, which often included a Garden Party with serving Army personnel.

They would travel to the Royal Castle at Balmoral where they both loved to spend their summers, guarded by Royal Guard, usually, but not exclusively, from 5th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

In more recent years, an increasing amount of time was spent at Balmoral, both officially during the summer months and in private at other times.

During public engagements in Scotland, the Duke travelled with The Queen and often interacted with attendees and guests at her various appointments, including at a number of local Highland games.

The Royal Regiment of Scotland Pony Major, Corporal Mark Wilkinson, who met the Duke regularly during his visit to Balmoral, spoke of one such occasion.

‘Each year on the Loch at Balmoral the staff took part in a Raft Race, one year I was honoured enough to be in charge.

‘Teams from the Royal Household, Royal Guard, Police, Ghillies and others all competed to get to the other side as quickly as possible.

‘Encouragement and water balloons flew from spectators on the shore. It was usually won by the team from the Royal Footmen. The Duke of Edinburgh would stand with us and roar with laughter at the chaos unfolding in front of him.’

The Duke of Edinburgh would stand with us and roar with laughter. Cpl Mark Wilkinson, Royal Regiment of Scotland Pony Major

The Duke’s affiliation to several Regiments and Corps meant he would often visit Scotland to meet the troops and mark major occasions.

He was Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and in 2011 he presented them with their new Colours in an Aircraft hangar in (then) RAF Kinloss on the Moray Firth.

This ceremony was unusual as it took place in winter, separate from when the other Battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland received their Colours from the Duke.

This happened during his visit in the previous summer because 4 SCOTS had been on Operations in Afghanistan at the time.

He was Colonel in Chief of the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (REME) and visited 2 CS REME in Leuchars Station in 2015, shortly after their return to the UK from Germany.

He was also the Colonel in Chief of the Rifles from their formation in 2007 until 2020. One of their Battalions, 3 RIFLES, are resident in Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh.

The Duke was also the Royal Colonel of the City of Edinburgh University Officer Training Corps (CEUOTC) until 2015.

He visited to watch them take part in leadership development exercises and army skills lessons in 2014, leaving a prior appointment early as he was so keen to meet the Officer Cadets and learn what they were doing.

The then Commanding Officer of CEUOTC, Lt Col Gordon Mackenzie said, ‘we were very pleased that the Duke came to see us, it isn’t every UOTC which gets to host a Royal Visit and all the Officer Cadets were very keen to meet him.

‘He had an association with us dating all the way back to 1953 and was a fantastic example of what it is to serve in the military and the Officer Cadets really related to what he had done in service of his country.’

With the sad passing of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 105 Regiment, Royal Artillery, carried out the Death Gun Salute at Edinburgh Castle at 1200 on Saturday 10th April, as one of multiple saluting batteries across the country and the globe.