As His Royal Highness Prince William and Catherine Middleton embark on their new lives together, the military community has sent their congratulations to the royal couple.
Prince William’s involvement in the Armed Forces is well-known and some of those he has served and trained with have sent messages of congratulations to him and his new wife.
Leading the messages of congratulations is Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards who expressed his pride in the role the military is playing on the wedding day:
I am delighted that so many members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces have the opportunity to be part of The Royal Wedding,” he said. “It is a huge honour for those servicemen and women taking part and one that they and their families will remember with great pride.
They reflect the sentiments of the whole of the Armed Forces who share their pride in supporting this national celebration.
For those in the Path Lining party it will be a particular and poignant honour as many will have served alongside Prince William, and I am sure they will take great delight in being among the first to see His Royal Highness alongside his new bride.
More than 1,000 military personnel and military musicians will line the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace on Friday 29 April 2011.
A Guard of Honour comprising three officers and 101 other ranks from the Welsh Guards will be positioned in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace and the bands and musicians performing on the day will include those from The Royal Marines Band and the Central Band of the RAF.
The personnel from each of the three Services who will form a Path Lining party for when the couple leave Westminster Abbey, have been chosen from a combination of those with a personal connection to Prince William, and those who have given an outstanding contribution to their Service.
As Prince William is the first ever Royal Colonel-in-Chief of the Irish Guards, it is fitting that The 1st Battalion Irish Guards is providing the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and the Tower of London throughout the wedding day.
Commanding Officer, The 1st Battalion Irish Guards, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Ghika, said:
I think everyone who’s there on the day will take great pride in what they do. It’s going to be a very big day for us, but a bigger day for him.
On behalf of myself and all ranks in the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, to our Colonel and to his wife, we offer our very best wishes on their wedding day and every happiness in the future.
Captain George Timothy Murphy, The 1st Battalion Irish Guards, added:
“On the day of the Royal wedding, I will be ensign to the Queen’s Guard and I’ll be carrying the battlion’s Queen’s colour on parade which is a great honour for me because I’ll be one of the centre points of the parade and being able to show off our battalion colour to the nation.
During the parade I’ll be saluting with the colour as the Royal carriages go past, including the ‘flourish’ which is the most elaborate move I’ll be doing as Her Majesty’s coach passes.
I’d like to wish all the best to the Royal couple on this very special day.
The Life Guards and Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will form a Sovereign’s Escort for Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and a Captain’s Escort for the bride and groom, as the wedding party travels to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey.
As Prince William is a Lieutenant in the Household Cavalry, the soldiers he served with sent him hearty congratulations on his nuptials.
Officer Commanding D Squadron, Household Cavalry Regiment, Major Ruper Lewis said:
I think the Squadron’s very proud that Prince William served with D Squadron for the period of time that he was with the Household Cavalry. I wish the happy couple a great day.
Lance Corporal Gary Ross HCR said:
Prince William served as my troop leader and he was very good, professional and given his background, we were a bit dubious at the start about what he was going to be like, but he is a fantastic bloke and everyone in the troop liked him.
He was a good soldier, a good troop leader. When we were in Castle Martin where we do our gun camp, we were in the turret together and I had a spanner in my hand and I asked him to knight me, but unfortunately he turned it down, but it was worth a try.
I feel happy for him and send him congratulations and I’m just gutted I couldn’t be there on the day.
Prince William spent the summer of 2008 on board HMS Iron Duke on operations in the Carribbean.
The crew of Iron Duke sent their congratulations to the Prince and Miss Middleton:
The Commanding Officer and Ship’s Company of HMS Iron Duke, in which his Royal Highness served in 2008, send His Royal Highness and Miss Middleton, best wishes for their wedding day and future life together.
The Royal Navy Submarine Service delivered this message to Prince William, who is Commodore in Chief Submarines:
It is with great pride that the Submarine Service offers Prince William our warmest congratulations, best wishes and every happiness in his forthcoming marriage to Miss Catherine Middleton.
Prince William’s involvement in the RAF has recently seen him qualify as a Search and Rescue pilot and he is now based at RAF Valley in Anglesey.
Group Captain Fraser Nicholson, Search and Rescue Force Commander, sent the following message to the Prince and Miss Middleton:
On behalf of everyone on the Search and Rescue Force, I am delighted to be able to wish HRH Prince William and Catherine all the very best on their wedding day and for a long, healthy and happy future together as husband and wife.
Elsewhere within the Service, Station Commander at RAF Cosford, Air Commodore Chris Green, said:
On this very special day, from myself and all of the staff and trainees at Royal Air Force Cosford, we send HRH Prince William and Miss Kate Middleton our heartiest congratulations on their wedding day and our very best wishes for a long and happy life together.
Station Commander at RAF Marham, Group Captain Simon Rochelle, said:
The personnel of RAF Marham, both in the UK and deployed overseas on operations, would like to congratulate HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on their wedding day.
“As a serving member of the Royal Air Force, we are exceptionally proud of HRH Prince William, and would like to wish the happy couple all the very best for the future.”
At RAF Shawbury, Station Commander Group Captain Warren James said:
All at RAF Shawbury are, of course, delighted for the Royal couple on their Wedding Day and wish them the best of luck for now and the future.
As a former trainee on the base, and a serving RAF helicopter pilot, Prince William (Flight Lieutenant Wales) has a special affinity with RAF Shawbury and this is felt by the team here, the majority of whom will, we are sure, be watching and celebrating in their own way with a mixture of pride and satisfaction, as well as loyal support and genuine joy.
We are sure it will be a magnificent event and spectacle for the whole country, and we hope that it holds special memories and lives long in the hearts of both Prince William and Catherine as they move forward into their life together.
As part of the wedding celebrations, the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will perform a fly-over Buckingham Palace as Prince William and Miss Middleton appear on the balcony for the first time since becoming husband and wife.
The Memorial Flight team issued this message:
Prince William is the patron of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and we are extremely proud and honoured to be able to conduct the Royal Wedding Flypast in company with the Royal Air Force’s current fast jet operational aircraft.
The men and women of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are honoured to be part of the Royal Wedding Flypast and wish Prince William and Kate all the very best for the wedding day and their future life together.