Queen Elizabeth is mellowing with age — or so she says!
Meeting with soldiers on Friday to mark Wales’s national celebration day, she observed that they were less intimidated by her than in years past.
“She commented at lunch how much more engaging soldiers are these days,” said Major General James Swift, the Regimental Colonel of the Royal Welsh regiment. “She thinks it is because she is now a little older that she is now a little less frightening, which gives you a view of her humility.”
The Queen, who will be a young 91 in April, is Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Welsh. One of its predecessor regiments, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, took part in the ceremony at Lucknow Barracks in Wiltshire amid rain showers on Friday.
There, she brightened up the day in a purple coat and fuchsia pink dress, both by Karl Ludwig, a hat by Angela Kelly and a Royal Welch Fusiliers brooch.
But the rain meant that plans to inspect the 600 troops from her open-top “Queen-mobile” had to be abandoned because, aides said, there were “strict instructions” not to let her get wet or cold.
So, the Queen reviewed the troops from inside a Range Rover, sitting in the back behind the front passenger seat at a speed of less than 10mph.
On the parade ground, she met two goats, the regimental mascots, Shenkin and Llywelyn, and presented ceremonial leeks, wrapped in red thread and dipped in gold, to 12 representatives of the “regimental family” — two cadets, five serving soldiers, two reservists, one Canadian exchange officer and two veterans.
Among those given leeks was Corporal Jason Done, 27, from Cardiff, who despite the monarch’s belief that soldiers are less frightened of her, admitted that he felt “nerves, butterflies and earthquakes” upon meeting her Majesty but said she quickly put him at his ease.
For her part, the Queen said it was a “great pleasure” to mark St. David’s Day, which was earlier in the week, with the regiment. “The British Army, perhaps more than any in the world, has always lived through the regiment and the regimental tradition,” she said.
“In the hour of battle it has repeatedly relied on these bonds, on the pride and comradeship of men who would sooner die than betray the traditions of their corps, or be unworthy of the men of old who fought before them under their colors. This is reflected in your regimental motto, death rather than dishonor.”