Prince Charles presents Parachute Regiment with new colours in Colchester

The Red Devils parachute display team dropped in with a surprise gift for the regiment's Colonel-in-Chief during the event.

Prince Charles has presented the Parachute Regiment with new Colours in a 'once-in-a-generation' ceremony.

The socially distanced event marked the first time the regiment had received new Colours since 1998 and 50 years since the Prince of Wales did his first parachute jump.

Presenting the Colours at Merville Barracks in Colchester, the Prince, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment, also inspected the front rank of the accompanying parade representing the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions.

Accompanying Charles at the event was the Parachute Regiment's Colonel Commandant, Lieutenant General Sir John Lorimer, for his last outing in the role.

After talking to a number of the paras at the event, Prince Charles undertook the formal presentation of the new regimental Colours, handing them to the battalions after they had each received blessings.

Colours have huge significance to infantry regiments of the British Army and have historically acted as a rallying point in the heat and smoke of ancient battle.

Handmade from precious silks, silver and gilt threads, they are used on the regiment's most important occasions, and bear the battle honours and symbols of the battalions.

It is thought they carry the spirits of all those who fought and died in their name since the founding of the regiment.

Shetland pony Pegasus, the regimental mascot, led the band off parade as the Red Devils parachute display team dropped smoke and parachuted into the square for an eye-catching finish.

Prince Charles addresses personnel from Parachute Regiment at Merville Barracks, Colchester, where he presented the regiment with its new colours 130721 CREDIT BFBS
Prince Charles also addressed personnel from the regiment during the ceremony.

They brought with them a surprise package for the Prince, a Denison Smock, which he can wear on future visits to the regiment.

The Prince of Wales made his first parachute drop on 29 July 1971, and six years later was made Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment.

He visits the regiment regularly and takes a close interest in supporting bereaved families and the wounded.