H.M. The Queen R.I.P. … Perceptions of a Veteran

September 20th, 2022

It has been a very emotional time for so many people across the United Kingdom.

It is especially so for current and past members of The British Armed Forces.

When we join the Armed Forces we swear allegiance to The Head of The British Armed Forces, and that is The Monarch. In my lifetime, this has always been HM The Queen R.I.P.

There is also a special connection with members of The Royal Family, as many of them take up the position of Colonel-in-Chief (C-in-C) of a variety of Corps and Regiments.

I joined The Royal Corps of Signals on 9th September 1980 and Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne as she was then (now H.R.H. The Princess Royal) was, and still is, our Colonel-in-Chief. Princess Anne visited us at The Army Apprentices College, Harrogate in 1982 and I still remember that occasion as a huge honour and with affection.

I transferred to The Intelligence Corps in 1992 and the late His Royal Highness, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh was our Colonel-in-Chief for over 40 years until his death on 9th April 2021. Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal has now become our Colonel-in-Chief.

I attended a couple of visits from C-in-C The Duke of Edinburgh at The Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess, Intelligence Corps Depot in Ashford, Kent and also a number of years later at The Priory Officers’ Mess at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

I retired from The British Army in 2004 after 24-years service.

It is hard to explain the deep connection current and past members of The British Armed Forces have with HM The Queen and our Colonels-in-Chief, the role they play and the love and respect we have with them as part of our service.

It is no doubt similar to the feelings those who have lined the streets all the way from Balmoral Castle, from Aberdeenshire, to Edinburgh, on The Royal Mile and St Giles’ Cathedral for The Lying at Rest and now in London for the amazing 12-14 hours of queuing to visit Westminster Hall and The Lying in State.

Suffice to say it has been a very emotional time and has reaffirmed the place of The Royal Family in the hearts and minds of so many people across the nation, as well as within that of British Armed Forces personnel, past and present.

I believe the main connection between us all comes down to that one word – service. It is particularly poignant when The Queen signed Her name with the words, Your Servant

It is a reminder to us all perhaps that we gain more as individuals in a variety of ways when we offer a life of service to others, in whatever capacity we now find ourselves within.

R.I.P. Your Majesty!