Queen visits late father’s regiment at Catterick Garrison

Queen Camilla inspects some of the 152 Lancers. Photo: Chris Jackson/PA.

The Queen visited her late father’s regiment during a visit to Catterick Garrison today.

Camilla was said to have been “awestruck” to see a tunic belonging to her father, Major Bruce Shand, and a letter written by him.

She met serving Royal Lancers and veterans during the visit to Cambrai Barracks – her first since becoming Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own) last June.

It was a role last held by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen wore an outfit by designer Fiona Clare, whose son is a Captain in the Lancers, modelled on the Lancers’ uniform with a chainmail collar and Lancers brooch belonging to the late Queen.

As she arrived, vehicles were on display including the Humber and Dingo from the Second World War that her father would have commanded.

The regiment performed a royal salute and the Queen inspected and addressed Lancers in the 152-person parade.

In a speech to Lancers and their families, Camilla said: “The Lancers have always struck me for their family spirit, whose comfort and support I experienced as a daughter of the regiment, and I’m delighted to see so many families and members of the Old Comrades Association here today.

“Particularly now, as so many of your loved ones look to deploy overseas.”

The Queen was handed a bouquet of flowers by Edie Pritchard, five, whose six-year-old brother Kit bowed and said: “A pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty.”

Edie and Kit’s mother Georgie Pritchard, whose husband Tom Pritchard is the officer commanding B squadron, told the PA news agency: “I think because of (the Queen’s) link to the regiment with her family, it doesn’t feel like just the day job when she comes here, it feels like she wants to be here and you get a real sense of that when you talk to her – she’s interested, and she cares, and that’s so lovely.”

The Queen awarded five medals before moving to the officers’ mess, where she was shown a tunic belonging to her father, which is to be put on public display at the Regimental Museum in Derby after its purchase at auction by the regiment.

Camilla also viewed a letter her father had written to the father of one of his troop sergeants, who had been awarded a medal for bravery.

Tim Hercock, from the museum, told PA: “I think it was a really moving occasion for her to enjoy. She was a) really interested and also I think quite awestruck.

“To see something that your father’s written 80 years ago, let alone while he’s fighting a battle, is something that’s really quite personal to her.”

The Queen signed the visitor book and was presented with a silver model of a lancer on a horse, saying she would “treasure it”.

“I know wherever my father is, he’d be so pleased I’ve got this role,” she said.

A letter signed by Queen Camilla’s father Major Bruce Shand. Photo: Chris Jackson/PA.

Camilla then left through a guard of honour and a street-lining procession.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Robin Davies told PA: “It’s really exciting to have the Queen here today.

“It’s a unique privilege to have a relationship with her and for her to visit us is wonderful.

“The highlights are her meeting our soldiers.

“Our soldiers are tremendous, they’re wonderful, they’re inspirational, and for her to meet them and their families is a unique experience.

“She treasures her relationship with the Lancers, she is a Lancer.

“She remembers her childhood, her father was a regimental officer, and so this is coming home.”

Queen Camilla poses for a group photograph with The Royal Lancers during her to visit. Photo: Chris Jackson/PA.