'I would certainly not wish to face any of you,' impressed Duchess of Cornwall tells RIFLES

The regiment welcomed its serving Colonel-in-Chief for the first time to the biennial event in London.

The Duchess of Cornwall has joined veterans, personnel and other members of the royal family at the Rifles' Awards Dinner at London's Guildhall.

The Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment was greeted by the Colonel Commandant, General Sir Patrick Sanders, and commanding officers from battalions, before telling troops how "impressed and inspired" they have made her so far.

It marked the first time the Duchess of Cornwall had attended the event, since succeeding the late Prince Philip as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles in July 2020.

"To step into the boots of my dear, much-missed, late father-in-law, the Duke of Edinburgh, is quite frankly terrifying!" she said during an evening speech.

"I know it was a role that he cherished and of which he was immensely proud and it is one of the greatest honours of my life to have followed him into this Colonelcy."

The Colonel-in-Chief went on to thank Rifles personnel for a warm welcome in the role.

"You have, very kindly, refrained from frightening me – although I would certainly not wish to face any of you on the battlefield," she jested.

"You have, on the other hand, impressed and inspired me with your devotion to duty, your determination to be the best at whatever you turn your hands to, and, of course, your irrepressible Riflemen humour."    

The Duchess of Cornwall praised those who served abroad and others who have bolstered UK coronavirus defences at home throughout her tenure, also noting an "infectious optimism" among those in 4th Battalion selected for the Army's new Ranger Regiment.

The Duchess of Cornwall alongside personnel from 3 Rifles during a visit to Edinburgh in October.

A display from Bugle Major Lewis and the Band of Bugles followed the Colonel-in-Chief's address, before the regiment and its guests sat down for dinner.

Already Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion the Rifles since 2007, the Duchess of Cornwall now entirely oversees one of the British Army's largest infantry regiments.

Having already visited all five regular battalions as Colonel-in-Chief, she plans to visit the remaining three reserve battalions soon.

Joining her on the evening were other Royal Colonels of Rifles battalions, including the Countess of Wessex (5th Battalion), the Duke Gloucester (6th Battalion), the Duchess of Gloucester (7th Battalion), the Duke of Kent (1st Battalion) and Princess Alexandra (3rd Battalion).