Remarks by The King at Presentation of New Colours, Number Nine Company, Second Battalion, The Irish Guards


Every guardsman standing here today is thus the Heir and Successor to the great legacy, the historic customs and fine traditions of your forebears within the Battalion. 

Ladies, Gentlemen and Guardsmen of Numbers Nine and Twelve Companies Irish Guards.

It has been a remarkable eighty-four years since my grandfather, King George VI, presented new Colours to the Second Battalion Irish Guards in Wellington Barracks during the opening months of the Second World War.  After that terrible War, whose signal anniversaries we are in the midst of commemorating, the Second Battalion was placed in suspended animation but, I am delighted to say, has been reinstated.  Every guardsman standing here today is thus the Heir and Successor to the great legacy, the historic customs and fine traditions of your forebears within the Battalion. It gives me the greatest pride to be able to present these new Colours to you today, and especially in the presence of the Regimental family, including some former members of Number Nine Company.

In recent years, the Regiment has continued to serve with immense distinction.  Around the world, your achievements include vital work to counter terrorism in Iraq and to bolster security across Africa by providing high-quality training teams to work with local forces. At home, you played an indispensable role in assisting the civil authorities during the Covid pandemic and, only last year, training Ukrainian forces to enable them to defend their homeland. I was privileged to see the impressive results of this latter work for myself, during a visit to Knook Camp, on Salisbury Plain.  In this ever-changing world, it is no exaggeration to say that the whole Regiment finds itself occupying a central role in Defence’s contribution to the myriad challenges which societies must face.  

In all of this, you bring to your duty a blend of professionalism, courage and humour which has always marked out Irish Guardsmen.  And, if I may, I would also like to compliment you on your drill and turnout today which has been truly emblematic of the excellence for which you are so rightly known.

I realise all too well that maintaining these standards and your enviable reputation, in a world of growing complexities, takes ruthless determination and commitment, both from serving members of the Regiment, and also from your families. On this special occasion I would like to pay tribute to their tremendous, unwavering support and encouragement to you all.

As your Colonel in Chief, I give these Colours into your safe-keeping in the knowledge that you will continue to uphold the standards and spirit of your Regiment whatever challenges you may face in the future.  I very much look forward to seeing the King’s Colour again in just five days’ time, under the steady hand of Lieutenant Harry Winterbottom, on the occasion of Trooping the Colour. Quis Separabit?

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