Camilla visits 5 RIFLES for first time as Colonel-in-Chief

The Duchess of Cornwall took over as Colonel-in-Chief of the RIFLES from the Duke of Edinburgh in July 2020.

The Duchess of Cornwall has made her first visit to 5 RIFLES as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.

Camilla took over as the regiment's colonel last July, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh.

Upon arrival in Bulford, Wiltshire, she met Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Sarah Troughton and Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hadfield, commanding officer of the battalion.

The Duchess presented several soldiers with long service and good conduct medals and also oversaw a ceremony appointing a new regimental sergeant major.

The RIFLES are one of the British Army's largest infantry regiments, comprising of five regular battalions and three reserve battalions.

Fifth battalion recently returned from Operation CABRIT in Estonia, on which its personnel deployed last September.

Lt Col Hadfield said: "It has been an extremely busy year for your 5th Battalion, with both preparation to deploy to Estonia, and the seven months deployed.

"It is our first week back from our post-operational tour leave and it is a really fitting moment to publicly say thank you to everybody here and also those members of the battalion who are not here."

Camilla visits 5 Rifles for first time as Colonel-in-Chief pic 1 070521 CREDIT BFBS
The Duchess of Cornwall aims to visit all her new RIFLES battallions.

Camilla thanked 5 RIFLES for their work on their "wonderful" operational tour of Estonia.

"I know it was very challenging," she told the soldiers.

"I also wanted to particularly thank all your families, your partners, for keeping the home fires burning while you were away and doing such a fantastic job keeping the morale up.

"I hope this will be [the] first of many visits and how much I have enjoyed meeting you all and how proud I am now to be your Colonel-in-Chief," she added.

The Duke of Edinburgh handed over the role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall during a rare public appearance in July 2020.

Prince Philip was Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment since its formation in 2007, and one one of the many military appointments he held during his lifetime.

Following her appointment last year, Camilla plans to visit all her new Rifle Battalions.

In September 2020, she visited 1 RIFLES at Beachley Barracks in Gloucestershire, near Chepstow.