I am sorry that it has taken me such a long time to manage to come and visit you. It hasn’t been very easy because you’ve been rushing about from one training area to another, and we could never somehow make things coincide. If I may say so, I am so glad now to have this very brief opportunity to catch a glimpse of you before some of you at least are off on your various deployments. But I also want to say that I am very glad to hear that you are now here at Combermere Barracks because I know for the last seventeen years or so, you’ve moved around six times or something horrendous! So, I hope this will be at least somewhere you can remain for a reasonable length of time, knowing that it is within quite useful, convenient reach of Wales. At least, as you’ve had to move around so much, the Household Cavalry were here for 200 years, so I’m not sure how long they’ll let you stay but it’s encouraging that it seems to work well.
The other thing that I wanted to say was that I was so enormously proud of those of you who formed part of the complement during my father’s funeral recently. If I may say so, it was a wonderful credit, not only to the Welsh Guards but also to the Household Division and all those who were on parade that day for what you all did. I know my family and I were deeply moved by the way you all performed your duties. People from other countries rang me up to say that they had never seen anything quite so marvellous, so beautifully done and with such dignity and style. Of course, it is something for which you are all rightly famed, but I know my father would have been also enormously touched because he had dreamt up this particular way he wanted it done – so you did him proud. You certainly made your old Colonel, for what it is worth, very proud indeed. Of course, as you know I followed my father’s footsteps when he was Colonel of the Welsh Guards for, I think 22 years and he then handed over to me back in 1975, and you’ve had to put up with me for the last 46 years! During which time, I have managed to see the grandfathers, the fathers and now the sons, I suppose and grandsons, coming through this regiment. So, for me, it has been something very special and gives me a real sense of the family connections that this Battalion has. So from that point of view it has been wonderful for me and as I say, I am enormously proud of all of you.
I hope that your deployments are a huge success, I’m sure they will be. I’ve heard marvellous reports of how The Prince of Wales Company has performed on its training and the other companies. I much look forward to hearing how you all get on rather, on Operation SHADER, a very important role, and then again for those of you all who are going later in the year. And of course, the other company, which is going on the anti-poaching effort – that’s another hugely valuable operation, I think, having been slightly involved in trying to encourage this because of the huge problems in Africa. It is wonderful to see that some of you are going to do this soon. Of course, nothing would happen without Headquarter Company, who keep the whole show on the road. So, if I may say so, it has been such a pleasure to see you all and I’m sorry if I’ve interrupted your lunchtime. I hope you all have great success, thank you very much.