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Caithness to Coronation: Scots officer’s colourful role

Reserve Army officer and engineer Lieutenant Angus Lapslie, of Caithness, had the honour of being King’s Colour Ensign during the Coronation of the Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, on 6 May 2023, saluting the new sovereign from the Queen Victoria Memorial in central London.

As Ensign, Angus, of 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS), carried his battalion’s colour (a large flag with battle honours) and the RMC Sandhurst Sword of Honour awarded to his great-grandfather, Donald Daly, in 1917 on commissioning into The Black Watch.

The 24-year-old engineer, whose parents also both served as British Army Officers, said: "It was huge honour to be part of such an important event for the country, and I was very proud to be one of the small contingent representing 7 SCOTS in front of the King and the world. We all stood just a little taller as the procession came past for our Royal Salute."

Wearing Scots Officer Number One Dress and holding the battalion’s colour and his grandfather’s sword, Angus and his fellow Scots proudly saluted their Majesties as they rode past in the gold state carriage.

“As the commander of the most northerly Reserve location on mainland Britain, in a small county which has a particularly close relationship with His Majesty, I was honoured to be able to represent the members of my battalion, regiment and county,” he said.

7 SCOTS also deployed to London in support of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s funeral last year.

Angus, whose baptism was witnessed by the late Queen Elizabeth, studied Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff University, where he joined the University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) as an Officer Cadet in 2017. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2020, commissioning into 7 SCOTS.

Commanding his detachment, Angus’s duties involve administering and career-managing the soldiers under his command as well as planning and delivering high-quality training, including a deployment to Croatia on Exercise Sava Stasr this summer.

When asked how it felt to be carrying his great-grandfather’s sword, the former Strathallen School pupil said, "Carrying a sword which has so much history always holds a significant weight, both figuratively and literally.

“The sword has been in the family for over 100 years now, but as my parents and grandfather held commissions in various corps of the Army (who carry a different style of sword), it has not been carried on parade since.

“Whenever I carry it, I feel a strong sense of stewardship of the beautiful piece of craftsmanship, and I hope that, if another descendent of Donald Daly commissions into a Scottish regiment, it will continue to be carried on parade in 100 years’ time.”

Angus’s grandfather, Rev Keith Angus LVO TD MA was the Minister of the Parishes of Crathie and Braemar in Royal Deeside and Domestic Chaplain to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth from 1979-1996. It was in this capacity that he baptised Angus at Crathie Kirk, with Queen Elizabeth in attendance.

In his civilian role Angus puts his engineering qualification to good use decommissioning the Dounreay nuclear facility in Caithness, to whom he is grateful  for allowing him the time off to take part in historical events and deploy on overseas exercises as a Reserve Army officer.

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