The Household Cavalry Regiment has said goodbye to Windsor after more than 200 years in the town.
More than 250 soldiers, eight mounted troops and the band of the Household Cavalry paraded through the town on Saturday (18 May) ahead of the regiment’s departure, which was first announced in December 2016.
Princess Anne gave an address to troops from the steps of the Guildhall and hosted a reception for their families.
“The Household Cavalry has been in Windsor for more than 200 years,” said an army spokesman.
“Today [18 May] they exercised their freedom to parade through this historic city to say thank you and goodbye to a community that has been their home for 215 years.
“The regiment will move from Combermere Barracks in St Leonard’s Road to Bulford in Wiltshire where it will work alongside fellow Royal Armoured Corps Regiment The King’s Royal Hussars, to operate the newly developed army reconnaissance vehicle, Ajax.”
The 1st Battalion Welsh Guards will be the new residents of Combermere Barracks.
Ahead of the parade, Royal Borough councillor Andrew Johnson said the regiment’s long association with the town “will not be forgotten, but we will give a warm welcome to the Welsh Guards”.
The Household Cavalry is comprised of the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards. It has two key roles — armoured reconnaissance and state ceremonial — and soldiers are all trained in both aspects.
While the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is based in London, Windsor is where soldiers have learnt to ride.
The 12-week riding course was held at the Household Cavalry training wing in Combermere Barracks, Windsor, which is where they were taught the basics of military equitation and horse welfare. This is then followed by the four-week kit ride at Knightsbridge Barracks.
The move was first outlined by Sir Michael Fallon, the then secretary of state for defence, in a written parliamentary statement on 15 December, 2016, outlining a restructure of the army (news, 24 January 2017).
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“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the community, town and council of Windsor,” said a Household Cavalry spokesman.
“It has been a privilege to be part of such a supportive environment and we hope that 1st Battalion Welsh Guards will be welcomed with a similar rapport over time.
“We will be fielding The British Army’s newest fighting vehicle, The Ajax. As part of this plan, new infrastructure has been built in Bulford to facilitate training for this new vehicle.
“We want to thank all of our supporters who saw us off at The Freedom of Windsor Parade.”
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