At a ceremony in the grounds of Balmoral Castle on Saturday, King Charles, accompanied by Queen Camilla, presented a new ceremonial colour to the Royal Guard.
The Ballater Colour is used by the soldiers from the Royal Guard, who guard Balmoral Castle while the King is in residence during the summer months.
The first Ballater Colour was presented in 1880 by Queen Victoria.
On this occasion, and to mark the reign of King Charles III, The King presented the new Ballater Colour to 51 Infantry Brigade & Headquarters Scotland.
The new Ballater Colour displays the Tudor Crown of His Majesty’s cypher rather than the St Edward’s Crown used by Queen Elizabeth II.
The retired Ballater Colour of 1996 will stay in Balmoral Castle alongside the Ballater Colours of 1925 and 1973.
It was a privilege to escort The King as he presented the New Ballater Colour to the Royal Guard." Major General Wright CBE
The ceremony saw the consecration of the new Ballater Colour by the Chaplain General of His Majesty’s Land Forces, The Reverend Michael Parker KHC CF.
The consecration of the Colour means it is set apart from mere material things and declared sacred. It is blessed on an altar constructed of drums. As part of the ceremony, two symbols of warfare the drum and flag - are given new meaning.
The Colour becomes more than just a flag, it becomes a rallying point for service and sacrifice. The respect shown to the colour echoes the Army’s values of courage, discipline, respect, integrity, loyalty, and selfless commitment.
Chaplain General, The Reverend Michael Parker KHC CF said:
“It is one of the great privileges and responsibilities of the Chaplain General to consecrate colours on behalf of the Army community and under the direction of His Majesty The King.
“The history represented by this colour emphasises the special bond between monarch and military and it was my honour to play a small part in recognising this.”
Accompanying Officers to The King were General Officer Scotland, Major General Bill Wright CBE and Commander 51 Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland, Brigadier Jody Davies MBE.
The Reverend Dave Jeal CF, Chaplain of His Majesty The King’s Royal Guard, represented the Royal Army Chaplains' Department.
General Officer Scotland, Major General Bill Wright CBE said:
“It was a privilege to escort The King as he presented the New Ballater Colour to the Royal Guard."
“The Guard is synonymous with the British Army in Scotland, and our close links to the Royal Family. It is therefore incredibly important that we continue to mark this tradition which dates back to 1880."
There is so much represented by this Colour: the service to The Crown of many in the past, today and into the future and a mark of their dedication to duty, devotion to each other and the pride and support of their families. It was a special day for all those involved." Brigadier Davies MBE
“The new Colours will replace those presented to the Royal Guard by Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in 1996, and will be the first to display the Tudor Crown.”
Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, who took up the Royal Guard in July this year, played a high profile role in the ceremony, accompanied by the Pipes and Drums of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Regimental Mascot, a Shetland pony, Corporal Cruachan IV.
During the ceremony, several iconic pipe tunes were played, including Atholl Highlanders, Loch Leven Castle and Auld Lang Syne, specific to the march-off of the old Colour.
Brigadier Jody Davies MBE, Commander 51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland, added:
“It was an honour for members of 51 Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland to be in attendance with Their Majesties as the New Ballater Colour was dedicated and presented to the Royal Guard.
“There is so much represented by this Colour: the service to The Crown of many in the past, today and into the future and a mark of their dedication to duty, devotion to each other and the pride and support of their families. It was a special day for all those involved.”