LARGE crowds were out to witness The Royal Scots Borderers being presented with new Colours by The Queen in Edinburgh on Saturday.
The Queen also presented the colours to the other battalions of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, for the first time since the regiment’s formation five years ago.
The parade, which included marching contingents from six of the regiment’s seven battalions – the 4th Battalion is currently deployed on operations in Afghanistan – their pipes and drums, along with the regimental band, took place in Holyrood Park.
This was the first time that six battalions from any regiment have been on parade at the same time. The parade also included several hundred veterans from the regiments’ antecedent units, which include the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
The Queen has been the Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Regiment of Scotland since its formation five years ago.
Colours are incredibly important to any army unit as they represent the spirit of the regiment. They consist of two large brocade and embroidery flags and they were originally carried into battle so that soldiers of a particular unit could see where the rest of their comrades were located at all times.
The infantry units of the British Army each have two Colours: The Queen’s Colour, which is a Union Flag; and a Regimental Colour, which has all the unit’s battle honours inscribed on it.
Colours are no longer carried on the battlefield but are held in the greatest of esteem by the soldiers and officers. They are brought out on important parades and regimental occasions and are escorted by a ‘Colour Party’.
When new Colours are presented, the old ones are not destroyed but are laid up in a regimental museum, church, or other military building with significance to its particular unit.
Saturday was the regiment’s first Colours presentation.
Colours are normally presented only every 20-25 years – in essence only once in a soldier’s career.