Catherine, Princess of Wales drives army vehicle at Norfolk base
2023/11/09

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Catherine, Princess of Wales, drove a seven-tonne armoured vehicle equipped with a machine gun on a visit to an army base in Norfolk.

The princess, 41, was described as "a natural" by a driving instructor on her first visit to at Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley.

She was appointed colonel-in-chief of the regiment by her father-in-law the King in August.

During her visit on Wednesday, she awarded long service and good conduct medals, and took a moment to remember those that had been lost in active service ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

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Cpl Darreyl Tukana, a driving instructor, sat beside Catherine in the Jackal 2 armoured vehicle on Wednesday.

He drove her to a troop hide, then let her take the controls to drive them back to where they started.

He said afterwards: "She was a natural. She drives a Land Rover back at home - I told her it's exactly the same - just take it slowly.

"She was enjoying every bit of the journey."

Cpl Tukana said the vehicles could reach 70mph (110km/h).

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The princess, who wore a poppy on her dark jacket, spoke with senior officers, soldiers and families.

Kate Ormston, 31, whose 38-year-old husband Staff Sgt Paul Ormston is attached to the regiment, was with their two children when she spoke to the royal guest.

She said: "It was really exciting. She asked about army life and my husband being deployed.

"She's done it herself, hasn't she? William's been in the military so she knows what it's like."

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The princess was presented with the Queen's Dragoon Guards brooch, which was made in 1959 for the Queen Mother, who also served as colonel-in-chief of the regiment.

Before she left by helicopter, Catherine promoted the regimental mascot, a Welsh Mountain pony called Trooper "Longface" Emrys Jones, from lance corporal to corporal.

Lt Col Chris Kierstead, commanding officer of the regiment, said: "I think she enjoyed herself and all the soldiers and officers have enjoyed meeting her."

The Queen's Dragoon Guards, which has been active for more than 300 years, specialises in reconnaissance and was recently deployed to Mali in 2021 and 2022, as part of a peacekeeping operation.

The regiment was formed in 1959 from the amalgamation of the two senior cavalry regiments, 1st King's Dragoon Guards and The Queen's Bays.

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