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General news

The Queen hails key infantry regiment at awards dinner

The Queen has praised The Rifles, one of the British Army’s key infantry regiments, for showcasing their skills “magnificently” in recent years – including at the King’s coronation.

Camilla, who is Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles, was guest of honour at the regiment’s biennial awards dinner at the Guildhall in the City of London along with the unit’s Royal Colonels, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Speaking about the intervening period since she attended the event in 2021, the Queen told the assembled officers and Riflemen: “The last two years have showcased The Rifles magnificently.

Camilla delivers a speech
Camilla hailed the regiment’s service, particularly during the King’s coronation (Victoria Jones/PA)

“From the familiar challenges we, as a regiment, so readily succeed at, through to the rare duty of gliding down the marching gears at the coronation with such panache.”

In the magnificent setting of the Guildhall, she added: “Much has happened since we last gathered here at the Guildhall – from a full-scale invasion, the largest seen in Europe since the Second World War, through to the first coronation in 70 years.

“I note with pride that Riflemen have boldly remained in the vanguard, doubling towards each of these challenges.”

Rifles Awards Dinner
Camilla has a personal connection to the regiment through her late father, Major Bruce Shand (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Queen has personal links to The Rifles though her late father Major Bruce Shand, who she said would have wanted her to “commend your loved ones, who make your work possible and keep the home fires burning”.

Two Battalions of The Rifles form part of the celebrated 7th Infantry Brigade, otherwise known as the Desert Rats, with whom Major Shand served.

Camilla got a warm response from her audience when she said about the King’s coronation: “I must say, to see 4,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen on parade was quite extraordinary, with the three cheers in the garden of Buckingham Palace quite unforgettable.

Rifles Awards Dinner
The event comes during a time of controversy for the royal family in the wake of Omid Scobie’s book (Victoria Jones/PA)

“My thanks goes out to 1 Rifles and the Band and Bugles of The Rifles for representing the Regiment with such pride and distinction – the dashing green tunics were a welcome contrast to all the redcoats, lace and frills.”

The event comes amid a row caused by the publication of Omid Scobie’s book on the royal family.

Endgame, penned by journalist Mr Scobie, paints unflattering portraits of several royals – including Queen Camilla.

The Dutch version of the book names two members of the royal family alleged to have raised “concerns” about the skin colour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie.

Mr Scobie has been accused of being behind a “stunt to sell books” and the Dutch edition was subsequently pulled from shelves.