Sgt Donald C Todd/ UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023
King Charles III has presented all branches of the military with new colours and standards bearing his cypher in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The presentation came just a week before his Coronation.
King Charles, accompanied by Queen Camilla, presented new colours and standards to the Royal Navy, the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, The King’s Company of the Grenadier Guards and The King’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force.
In a speech, the King said: “We very much look forward to seeing these Colours carried on parade in nine days’ time on the occasion of our Coronation.”
The King also noted the significance of such an event, reminding those gathered that it had been around 85 years since a King’s Colour had been presented to the military, and also expressed “my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you, as representatives from the three Services, for your loyal service over the course of her remarkable reign, to The Late Queen who, I know, held you all in such high regard.”
In a statement on the Royal Navy’s website, the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key, who attended the ceremony, said: “It was an honour to be presented with new Colours today by The King in a ceremony that reflected the deeply-personal nature of His Majesty’s life-long relationship with all three Services.”
Representing the British Army, Major Hathaway-White Captain of the King’s Company said in a statement on its website, “To receive the new King’s Company Colour, Royal Standard of the Regiment, is a special day for the Company, but also Regimentally. We are absolutely delighted to have both His Majesty The Company Commander granting the colour to His Company, and to have Her Majesty The Colonel attending to recognise this important day Regimentally.”
In the ceremony at Buckingham Palace, all the colours presented had to be consecrated before they could be used; three service chaplains took up the duties.
Colours have traditionally been used to represent the ceremonial rallying of a service or regiment, continuing from the practice when colours were used on the battlefield to help troops find their bearings and serve as rallying points.
The ceremony at Buckingham Palace marked the first time that a tri-service colours presentation has taken place.