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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess
of Cornwall

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince Harry

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Armed Services

  • HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
  • The Duchess of Cornwall is Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion, The Rifles
  • The Duchess of Cornwall has links with many military regiments
  • The Duchess of Cornwall is Colonel-in-Chief of The Queen's Own Rifles in Canada

The Duchess supports the work of the British Armed Services both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Her Royal Highness has her own military appointments and accompanies The Prince on many of his visits to the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Her Royal Highness is Royal Colonel of  4th Battalion The Rifles, Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Medical Services and the Naval Chaplaincy Service, Sponsor of HMS Astute and Honorary Air Commodore of both RAF Leeming and RAF Halton.

In 2006 The Duchess of Cornwall became Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion The Rifles following the re-organisation of the regiments. The Battalion was previously named 2nd Battalion The Royal Green Jackets with The Queen as Colonel-in-Chief.

The Duchess said she was “delighted and deeply honoured” to receive the appointment and has since taken a very close interest in the battalion, which has suffered heavy losses during its tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Duchess visits the regiment regularly, meets servicemen and their families, presents service medals and receives regular briefings from the Commanding Officer. In 2006 The Queen appointed The Duchess of Cornwall to the position of Commodore-in-Chief of Royal Naval Medical Services. Her Royal Highness is pictured presenting operational Afghanistan campaign medals in this role at Whale Island in Portsmouth in January 2012.

In June 2007 The Duchess of Cornwall, as Sponsor, launched the Royal Navy's largest and most powerful submarine, HMS Astute, to the cheers of 10,000 people in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

In 2008 The Queen approved new Royal Air Force honorary appointments in recognition of the strong links between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Family. The Duchess of Cornwall was appointed Honorary Air Commodore of both RAF Leeming and RAF Halton.

With The Prince of Wales Her Royal Highness attends ceremonial military events including the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and occasions such as the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph in November. In 2010 Their Royal Highnesses visited Fromelles to pay tribute to the last of the 250 First World War soldiers whose remains were recovered from communal graves in France.

The Duchess also has personal links to military organisations connected to her father Major Bruce Shand, who was awarded two military crosses. Her Royal Highness is Patron and an Honorary Member of the Desert Rats Association. Major Shand, fought with the Desert Rats in the Second World War before being captured during the Battle of El Alamein. The Duchess has attended many occasions with veterans, serving soldiers and officers of the 9th/12th Lancers with whom her father also served.

The Duchess is Patron of Sea Cadet Unit TS Astute which is related to her role as Sponsor of HMS Astute and is a Life Member of the Royal British Legion Women's Section, of which The Princess Royal is President.

In 2011, The Duchess became Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and in 2012 Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police.

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