The Third Colour

story

The 1st Battalion of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment has the unique Army distinction of still retaining a Third or ‘Colonel’s’ Colour. This distinction, dating from the late 17th Century, was inherited from The Queen’s Royal Regiment.

At one stage, there were a large number of Colours within a battalion used as rallying points for each grouping on the battlefield. This number eventually fell to a total of three; one for pikemen and two for the two wings of musketeers. In about 1700, the bayonet was brought into service, pikemen were removed from battalions’ establishments and there was no longer the requirement for a third colour. However, The Queen’s who were serving abroad, chose to ignore the order to remove the Third Colour and retained it. Eventually it was laid up in Dublin in 1750, but recovered in 1825 and carried on parade with royal approval. The approval was rescinded in 1835 and The Queens were told that the Third Colour could be retained, but never taken on parade.

At the time of the formation of The Queen's Regiment, the Colour in service was thirty-six years old and much worn. A new Colour was brought into service during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year, 1977. The order not to parade the Colour has been ignored on two occasions, once on 3 June 1927 on the occasion of The King’s Birthday Parade in Hong Kong, on 1992 on disbandment of The 1st Battalion The Queen’s Regiment in Minden, Germany on the Glorious First of June.

The Third Colour is green, the colour of the House of Braganza, and displays the cypher of Queen Catherine.