Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Canadian Colonels-in-Chief

Further to this post,
HRH The Prince of Wales: Colonel-in-Chief
quite a bit more:
The royals and their Canadian regiments
Formal and constitutional links have been in place for more than a century, writes Bruce Deachman.

Prince Charles inspects a Royal Honour Guard at Victoria on Sunday during a visit there with his wife, Camilla.
Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Canwest News Service, The Ottawa Citizen

Queen Mary, widow of George V, was colonel-in-chief of the Queen's Own Rifles, and, immediately before the regiment's departure from England for the beaches of Normandy in June 1944, attended a dinner in their honour.

Steve Harris, chief historian at National Defence, remembers his father, Jack,
an officer in the regiment at the time, telling him of the Queen's post-dinner cigarette.

"Queen Mary smoked," Harris says, "and there were the typical stamped metal 'Drink Moosehead Ale' ashtrays in the officers' mess.

"So there's this kind of tawdry blue-and-gold, metal ashtray," he continues. "It's after the dinner, they're going to have a cigarette, and that's the nearest ashtray. She begins to use it, and somebody -- because they had one crystal ashtray -- very quickly tried to replace the 'Drink Moosehead Ale' ashtray with the crystal one, and her answer was -- and my father heard her say it

-- 'No ... if it's good enough for my soldiers, it's good enough for me.'"

- - -

The story, Harris says, illustrates the close bond that the monarchy has maintained throughout history with Canada's military.

Prince Charles is colonel-in-chief of six Canadian regiments: Lord Strathcona's Horse, a.k.a. Royal Canadians; The Royal Regiment of Canada; The Royal Winnipeg Rifles; The Black Watch, a.k.a. Royal Highland Regiment; The Toronto Scottish Regiment, a.k.a. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own; and The Royal Canadian Dragoons, many members of which, based in Petawawa, Prince Charles will meet on Wednesday [Nov. 11--regarding which good on the Prince: "Privacy trumps prince photo ops"]...


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