Princess Alexandra visits Shrewsbury for regiment's freedom parade

The ceremonial flag flew high for Shropshire this weekend, as hundreds of people gathered to watch the Royal Yeomanry Regiment parade the streets of Shrewsbury.

 Princess Alexandra, at The Square, Shrewsbury, with the Royal Yeomanry
Princess Alexandra, at The Square, Shrewsbury, with the Royal Yeomanry

With bayonets fixed and resplendent uniforms on display, 145 troops marched from Shrewsbury Castle, all the way through the High Street on Saturday afternoon.

Royal Yeomanry parade, at Shrewsbury

Accompanied by a military brass band and a Jackal vehicle, they made their way to The Square to await inspection from the Royal Honorary Colonel – HRH Princess Alexandra.

There they stood in anticipation, along with members of the public, for the arrival of Her Royal Highness, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy – first cousin of the Queen.

Princess Alexandra, at The Square, Shrewsbury, with the Royal Yeomanry

The parade marked the first time in which the Royal Yeomanry Regiment has exercised its Freedom of the Town, honouring the work and dedication of the Army Reservists and sealing the bonds of friendship between the town and the regiment.

Princess Alexandra arrived outside Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery at 2pm, where she stopped off for some refreshment before her inspection of the troops.

The special exhibition in the museum was closed off to the public until 2.30pm as the princess browsed the collection of art on display, including a watercolour painting by Turner.

Princess Alexandra, at The Square, Shrewsbury, with the Royal Yeomanry

Maggie Love from the museum said: "Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery are very excited to be hosting this visit.

"We have a special exhibition on at the minute and she's (HRH) using this as her rest time before she's required in The Square.

"It's pretty exciting anyway, but to then have royalty – even more so."

In the Square, Princess Alexandra was accompanied by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Anna Turner– who was dressed in a general's uniform – and Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Field.

Princess Alexandra, at The Square, Shrewsbury

Lt Col Field said: "Today we are exercising our freedom of the town of Shrewsbury and it is exciting for us as a regiment to come together.

"I am nervous, but excited, and there is a huge amount of pride; it is not often we do something like this."

Before the parade, Lt Col Field took part in a spectacle, which also served as a reminder of the civil authority of the military.

Ready for the Royal Yeomanry parade, at Shrewsbury Castle, Colonel Charlie Field, banging on the gate doors

This involved banging on the Castle gates with his sword and asking the mayor to exercise the rights of freedom.

The guidon – military flag – bears the battle honours of regiments and would originally have been used as rallying points for the troops.

It stood at the heart of the procession in The Square today as it now holds a ceremonial purpose, as the 'golden thread of the regiment'.

The reserve regiment is made up of cobblers, painters and lawyers who go above and beyond their daily routine to serve in the unit, as well as holding down day jobs.

Ready for the Royal Yeomanry parade, at Shrewsbury

The Regiment recruits from Shrewsbury and has a squadron in Telford.

Captain Nick Trevor, said: "We are so proud and honoured to have Her Royal Highness here today on such a wonderful event.

"Being a Shrewsbury soldier myself, it's a great opportunity for the reserves and their families to be recognised for their commitment."

He best summed up a reservist's role by using a familiar quote by Winston Churchill: "The reservist is twice the citizen."

SHREWS PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC SHROPSHIRE STAR 30/07/22 Ready for the Royal Yeomanry parade, at Shrewsbury..

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