Prince Philip hands over Rifles Colonel-in-Chief role to Camilla

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

For almost seven decades, Prince Philip has been closely associated with The Rifles and its earlier regiments.

In a unique ceremony, the 99-year-old, who retired from public duties in 2017, handed his role over to Camilla who was almost 100 miles away at her Highgrove home in Gloucestershire.

She accepted the honour during the second half of the ceremony.

Four buglers from the Band and Bugles of The Rifles were standing to attention when the duke – who served as a Royal Navy officer during the Second World War – arrived on the steps of the Equerries’ Entrance at Windsor Castle.

He was thanked for his 67 years of support to The Rifles, and its forming and previous regiments, by Assistant Colonel Commandant Major General Tom Copinger-Symes.

Camilla Duchess of Cornwall with General Sir Patrick Sanders during Rifles ceremony
Camilla comes into the role having spent 13 years as the Royal Colonel of 4 Rifles (Picture: Geoff Pugh/Daily Telegraph/PA).

Prince Philip has been Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles since its formation in 2007.

But his connection to the regiment goes back much further, as he served in the same role since 1953 with previous regiments which now make up The Rifles.

The duke was last seen at a major event in May 2019 when he was a guest at Lady Gabriella Windsor's wedding.

Camilla comes into the role after spending 13 years as the Royal Colonel of 4 Rifles.

Prince Philip
The Duke of Edinburgh officially retired from public duties nearly three years ago (Picture: PA).

Who are the Rifles?

The Rifles formed in February 2007 following the merger of four infantry regiments.

They are one of the British Army's largest infantry regiments, comprised of five regular battalions and three reserve battalions.

Prince Philip had been the honorary head of the regiment since its formation and served as Colonel-in-Chief of antecedent and forming regiments which now make up the Rifles since 1953, when he was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of The Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh's).

His most recent engagement as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment was in June 2019, when he received the outgoing and incoming Colonel Commandant of The Rifles.

The duke was pictured speaking to buglers during the ceremony at Windsor Castle (Picture: PA).
The duke was pictured speaking to buglers during the ceremony at Windsor Castle (Picture: PA).

The Duchess of Cornwall also has a close connection with the regiment, as she was appointed Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion The Rifles in 2007 and she will continue to hold the position.

Most recently, the Duchess of Cornwall visited New Normandy Barracks to present service medals and meet serving personnel and their families.

Cover image: PA.