On the 22nd July 2020, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, transferred his role of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Two ceremonies were held, one at Windsor Castle and the other at Highgrove House. 22nd July is Salamanca Day – the Regimental Day of The Rifles, which marks the Battle of Salamanca in 1812. All forming Regiments of The Rifles had an antecedent who fought in the action.
At Windsor Castle, the Duke of Edinburgh’s arrival was marked by four Buglers of the Band and Bugles of The Rifles. After a speech, in which the Duke was thanked for his many years of service and support to the Regiment, the Buglers sounded ‘No More Parades’, thereby marking the end of Prince Phillip’s final ceremony as the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles.
Meanwhile at Highgrove House, the Duchess of Cornwall was also greeted by Buglers and a speech by the Colonel Commandant of The Rifles, General Sir Patrick Sanders, welcoming her royal highness to the role of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles. The Duchess of Cornwall has had strong links with The Rifles for many years, serving as the Royal Colonel of 4/RIFLES since the Regiment’s formation in 2007.
The connection between antecedents of The Rifles, Scotland and the position of Duke of Edinburgh stretch back a long way. The 99th (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot was raised in the city of Edinburgh in 1824. Forty years later, in 1865, the 99th were garrisoning South Africa when they were inspected by Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh. Alfred was so impressed by the Regiment, that he maintained a close association with it ever afterwards. In 1874, this connection became official, when the 99th were retitled the 99th (Duke of Edinburgh’s) Regiment. Amalgamation with the 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot in 1881 led to the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire Regiment), retitled the Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s) in 1921.
Prince Phillip has held the position of Colonel-in-Chief of antecedent regiments of The Rifles and The Rifles, itself, since 1953. Between 1953-1959, he was Colonel-in-Chief of the Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s), 1959-1994, Colonel-in-Chief of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment, 1994-2007, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, and 2007-2020, Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles.
Throughout nearly 70 years of amalgamations and changes in the British Army, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has remained a constant with the antecedents of The Rifles and the current Regiment.
The Rifles Museum wishes to offer its thanks to the Duke of Edinburgh for his many years of service, and congratulations and best wishes to the Duchess of Cornwall on becoming the new Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment.