A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the Sovereign’s Parade, Sandhurst


Indeed, it is no accident that you are stood here today. Each of you has demonstrated the very special values that we look for in all those who lead our brave men and women.


Staff of the Royal Military Academy,

Officer Cadets,

Distinguished guests,

Good morning to you all,

Thank you for inviting me here today – it is a great honour to stand here representing Her Majesty The Queen for the Sovereign’s Parade. And it is great to see so many families and friends have turned out to bear witness to the remarkable accomplishment of those commissioning.

I know that many of you have travelled significant distances from across the globe, a testament to Sandhurst’s global reputation, and I thank you for making the effort to join us here today.

It is almost 12 years ago to the day that I stood where you are. I remember the deep sense of pride that came from passing out of one of the finest military academies in the world as well as wanting a short speech delivered so I could march off the parade square that little bit quicker! I also remember the acute sense of relief that I would no longer be getting thrashed at Sennybridge, or having to dig trenches for 5 days in Thetford!

For those of you commissioning, I can assure you that what you have achieved during your time here will live with you for the rest of your lives. The friendships forged will last a lifetime and you will have been fortunate enough to have shared experiences with people from many different backgrounds, countries, cultures and religions.

And although we are rightly gathered here today to recognise and celebrate your success, it is but only the start of your journey. Today the onus of responsibility for leading and inspiring our soldiers, which is the very essence of being a Commissioned Officer, passes over to you.

It is both an immense privilege and a daunting challenge. But, rest assured, you have been prepared well for this challenge by the very best instructors in the World.

The motto of the academy is ‘Serve to Lead’ and I am sure that this will have been hammered into you from your very first day here. But I ask each and every one of you to pause now to reflect on what this really means.

It means placing the interests of your soldiers ahead of the interests of yourself. It means earning their trust and looking out for them. It means being the one who must make tough decisions and lead in the face of adversity.

Good Leadership is so often difficult to define but is easy to recognise. And it is now your responsibility. Good leadership is the very foundation of the army’s strength and without it we are nothing.  

Indeed, it is no accident that you are stood here today. Each of you has demonstrated the very special values that we look for in all those who lead our brave men and women. If you didn’t possess these values, you would not be commissioning today, so go forth with confidence in your own abilities.

And remember, the nation can bestow no higher honour on you than selecting you to lead its soldiers – no small feat and something of which you and your families should be justifiably proud.

And I would like to end by taking time to thank your families and friends. The remarkable transformation you will have borne witness to over the last year would not have been possible without your steadfast support and encouragement. Service life places great demands on family life, but I want you to know that your country is extremely grateful for the sacrifices you make in order to protect the nation.

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