The Duchess of Cornwall took the role of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles in July last year after taking over from the Duke of Edinburgh, however she has been connected with The Rifles since its formation in 2007 when she was appointed as Royal Colonel of 4 RIFLES.
During her time connected to the regiment, she has carried out regular engagements with the Riflemen. As COVID restrictions begin to ease, The Duchess has expressed a keen interest in getting out to meet Riflemen from across the Regiment and today’s visit was a wonderful opportunity to do just so.
At a small reception held outside, she presented five medals for long service and good conduct before going on to meet Riflemen and officers to talk about the demands of their recent deployment to Estonia.
The Duchess was also keen to meet the wives and families of those serving and learn of the challenges that they have faced during the Battalion’s most recent deployment.
I would like to say how proud I am to be your Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
Her Royal Highness said:
“It is a huge pleasure for me to come back to Bulford which I know pretty well from my role a Royal Colonel of 4 RIFLES. It is particularly nice to come back and meet you all for the first time and really to thank you for all you have been doing, especially your tour of Estonia which I know was very challenging.
I also wanted to particularly thank all of your families and partners for literally keeping the home fires burning whilst you were away and also to the Rear Party for doing such a fantastic job in keeping morale up. I would like to say how proud I am to be your Colonel-in-Chief and I hope this is the first of many visits.”
5 RIFLES is a Regular Infantry Battalion based at the heart of Salisbury Plain and have recently returned from their second operational tour of Estonia (Operation CABRIT 7) as part NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence. The battalion consists of around 600 Riflemen who deploy from their base location on training and operations worldwide. The battalion is an Armoured Infantry Battalion using the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle and is part of 20 Armoured Brigade, within 3rd (UK) Division - 'The Iron Division" - the only division at continual operational readiness in the UK.
it has been an absolute honour to have you with us today Lt Col Hadfield
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hadfield MBE commented:
“It has been an extremely busy year for your 5th Battalion what with the preparation and deployment to Estonia. This gives me the perfect opportunity to publicly say thank you to everybody here and all those members of the Battalion and their families who are not here for all that they have done.
It means a huge amount to us for you to visit your regiment, it has been an absolute honour to have you with us today.”