The Royal Family and the British Armed Forces have a long and well-established connection. Many regiments of the Army have, as their Colonel-in-Chief, a member of the Royal Family. Through this, the regiment can foster close ties with the Monarchy and also have someone to represent the regiment on ceremonial occasions.
Most members of the Royal Family hold colonelcies of regiments in some form, including female members.
The Countess of Wessex is Royal Colonel of the 5th Battalion the Rifles, Princess Anne is Colonel of the Blues & Royals and Prince William is Colonel of the Irish Guards.
Whilst many members of the Royal Family have military experience, it is not required to be appointed Colonel of a regiment – the role is not an administrative or service one, rather the royal colonel will typically be present at medals parades, events in the presence of The Queen and regimental gatherings, dinners and galas.
Some members, such as the Duke of Edinburgh, have over 20 appointments just in the Army alone, yet staying in contact with the regiment is regarded as highly important to the Duke.
The Duchess of Cambridge could well be given an honorary military appointment, like her husband the Duke of Cambridge and many other royal wives past and present in the not-too-distant future.
Currently, she often accompanies Prince William to medals parades and regimental events for the Irish Guards of which His Royal Highness is Colonel. An appointment of her own is highly likely at some stage before she becomes Queen and as a working member of the Royal Family, would be considered essential.
As king one day, Prince William will be Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces as well as holding personal appointments to certain regiments and even right down to being Company Commander of what’ll be the King’s Company, Grenadier Guards.
Vacancies for Colonelcies come and go in the Army and The Queen is typically involved in selecting colonels – could it only be a matter of time before the Duchess of Cambridge is put forward for one – surely many regiments wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity of having Kate’s first colonelcy.