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Welsh Guards give huge Windsor welcome to US President

A large Guard of Honour of almost one hundred soldiers from The Prince of Wales’s Company of The Welsh Guards paraded in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle today with The King’s Colour (ceremonial flag) to welcome the US President to the UK.

Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II met 13 American Presidents during Her reign, and His Majesty King Charles III is beginning his own relationship as Monarch with America’s leaders as he welcomed President Biden to Windsor Castle on Monday 10th July.

The White House said that the meeting was intended to “further strengthen the close relationship between our nations.”

The visit followed a meeting of the US President with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss Ukraine and NATO as well as transatlantic trade agreements. This was not a formal state visit which normally runs over three days of pageantry and top-level diplomatic meetings and receptions. This much shorter visit was marked instead by a ‘Ceremonial State Welcome’ before the President heads off to Vilnius for the NATO Conference on Tuesday.

The Field Officer in Brigade Waiting, Colonel Guy Stone, commanded all troops on parade in Windsor Castle for the State Welcome. It was designed to show the ultimate respect to the United States, our greatest ally, and used troops with some of the closest links to The King who are also preparing to deploy to the US to train alongside US forces in a matter of weeks.

The King was Regimental Colonel of the Welsh Guards for 48 years before He handed responsibility to his son, Prince William, in December 2022. The Welsh Guards are Wales’s Senior Infantry Regiment with a formidable reputation forged throughout the last century.  First and foremost they serve the UK as fighting soldiers. They are Light Role Infantry, allowing them to lead from the front as a mobile and flexible attack force and deploy on operations around the world.

The Welsh Guards are currently preparing to deploy on Exercise RATTLESNAKE in Louisiana in the United States. This is a wide-ranging military operational training exercise designed to build interoperability and develop the close bond of friendship that already exists between our partner Armed Forces.

The Welsh Guards and the Band of the Welsh Guards, each in their distinctive scarlet tunics with leeks embroidered on the collars, and black bearskin hats with a white, green, white plume, marched into the Quadrangle to take up their positions for the VVIP arrivals. They were led by the Household Division Senior Drum Major Gareth Chambers who was wearing his gold State coat uniform bearing The King’s Cypher. The design of his uniform dates back to the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.

The Director of Music for the Band of the Welsh Guards is Major Lauren Petritz-Watts, who is the first female director of music in the Household Division.

In preparation for the arrival of the VVIPs, the Band played equal tributes to both nations by performing ‘Fanfare and Flourishes’ by American composer James Curnow, and the traditional Welsh tune ‘All Through the Night’ which was arranged by Nestico, a former US Marines and US Air Force musician. Just before the arrival of The King, they performed ‘17 Come Sunday’ a military march from Vaughan Williams’ Folk Song Suite which was written specially for the British Household Division Bands.

As The King took his place in the pavilion the troops gave a Royal Salute and The National Anthem was performed. As the US President and First Lady arrived and took their positions beside Him, the Band performed the US National anthem.

The Captain of the Guard of Honour, Officer Commanding The Prince of Wales’s Company, Major Alex Major, presented his troops for inspection. 

His Majesty The King invited the US President to inspect the front rank of the Guard and accompanied the President as he did so, with Major Alex Major. During the inspection, the Band of the Welsh Guards performed US and UK classics ‘Great and glorious’ by Statham and ‘La jouissance’ by Handel.

The King and the President returned to the pavilion, and the Welsh Guards marched past giving a traditional ‘eyes left’ salute as they passed the VVIPs.

The King and the President then retired into the Castle for talks on climate change focused on how to encourage private companies to engage in more clean energy efforts, specifically in developing countries.

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