News story

Armed Forces celebrate royal birth with gunfire and cheers

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Armed Forces are celebrating the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child in fine style across the world today.

As is customary with the birth of a British prince, royal salutes will be fired across the capital. In Green Park, members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will fire a 41-gun salute from their 13-pounder quick-fire guns, which were all used in action in the First World War. The guns will be pulled into action by teams of 6 horses.

And, over at the Tower of London, the Honourable Artillery Company, an Army Reserves unit, and the oldest in the British Army, will fire 62 rounds over the River Thames to mark the happy occasion.

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41-gun royal salute
The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41-gun royal salute in Green Park (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Adrian Harlen, Crown copyright]

Major Mark Edward, Commanding Officer of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, said:

The opportunity to mark the birth of the child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge by firing a 41-gun royal salute comes as a huge honour for the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

Celebrations are not confined to London however, as all of Her Majesty’s Ships – in home or international waters – are flying the Royal Navy Ensign from their main mast to mark the birth of the prince.

Ensigns were proudly flown by HMS Kent, on operations in the Middle East, and by HMS Lancaster, currently deployed on Atlantic Patrol Task (North) in the Caribbean. The 2 ships’ companies added their own special congratulatory message to the Duke and Duchess by forming up to spell the word ‘BOY’ on the ships’ decks.

Members of HMS Kent's ship's company celebrate the royal birth
Members of HMS Kent's ship's company celebrate the royal birth on deck in the Middle East [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Joel Rouse, Crown copyright]

HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Steve Moorhouse, said:

As ‘The Queen’s Frigate’ we were particularly delighted to hear the fantastic news of the royal birth and everybody on board HMS Lancaster sends their warmest congratulations and best wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Personnel from RAF Valley, the RAF station where Prince William serves as a search and rescue pilot, were among the first to offer official congratulations. Led by the Station Commander, Group Captain Adrian Hill, and Search and Rescue Commander Group Captain Sara Mackmin, RAF Valley sent a congratulatory message to Flight Lieutenant Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their first child.

VIDEO: Message of Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from RAF Valley

Group Captain Hill said:

We’re all delighted to learn that Flight Lieutenant Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge are now proud parents of a newborn son.

We wish them all the very best for the future. From everyone at RAF Valley, congratulations.

Other units connected to the Duke of Cambridge have also been celebrating. The Household Cavalry, the Army regiment that Prince William commissioned into from Sandhurst, celebrated the birth in Afghanistan where elements are currently deployed. A toast was also raised back in the UK by the Mounted Regiment which is currently on exercise with their horses in Norfolk.

The Honourable Artillery Company fire a gun salute
The Honourable Artillery Company fire a gun salute from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London (library image) [Picture: Corporal Richard Cave, Crown copyright]

Prince William is also Colonel of the Irish Guards, and he and the Duchess of Cambridge visited the battalion just after their wedding in 2011 to present medals for Operation Herrick 13.

On St Patrick’s Day in 2012 and 2013, the Duchess of Cambridge did them the honour of presenting shamrocks to all ranks, a role carried out for many years by a female member of the Royal Family. At the news of the royal birth, the Irish Guards celebrated in their own unique way at their barracks in Aldershot and at bases in London, toasting the royal baby with a traditional glass of Irish Stout.

Their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ed Boanas, said:

On behalf of all ranks of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, I send our warmest congratulations and best wishes to the Colonel of the Regiment and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge on the occasion of the birth of their son, with the heartfelt hope that he has a long and happy life.