HRH The Prince of Wales has visited the Folkestone base of The Royal Gurkha Rifles to celebrate 200 years of Gurkha service to the British Crown and the regiment’s birthday.
Prince Charles, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment and patron of The Gurkha Welfare Trust, took time to meet families and serving soldiers as part of the anniversary celebrations.
Major Prembahadur Gurung, who hosted HRH during the visit said: “It is always a pleasure to welcome the Prince of Wales to our Regiment”
“As Gurkhas, serving a long way from our homeland, we take pride in thinking of ourselves as a family. HRH has a long and friendly relationship with the Gurkhas, this visit allowed us once again to share with him our culture and traditions”.
The Royal Gurkha Rifles was formed in 1994 from the amalgamation of four previous regiments of Gurkhas.
Their history goes back to 1815, when Gurkhas first served the British Crown.
This year has seen a programme of celebrations in Nepal, the UK and India to mark the 200th anniversary.
For the Gurkha soldiers, Royal recognition of their service and continuing loyalty is much appreciated.
Corporal Hari Rai explained: “For the Prince of Wales to take the time to visit us is an honour. He spoke about our work and his sadness at seeing the effects of the earthquakes in Nepal.”
Soldiers from the Folkestone-based battalion are now switching their focus to preparing to deploy to Afghanistan at the beginning of next year.
The eight-month deployment will see the Gurkhas return to Kabul, where they will protect the remaining UK troops, supporting the mentoring and training of the Afghan security forces.
Pictures: Crown Copyright 2015 / British Army