9 times The Royal Family showed their appreciation for The Gurkhas
There are countless reasons why the Royal family have a close bond with the Gurkhas. And countless times where they’ve shown their gratitude to both the Gurkha regiments and to us, The Gurkha Welfare Trust.
From the Queen herself to HRH Prince Harry, we count down the top nine times members of the Royal Family have shown their appreciation for the Bravest of the Brave:
1. Prince Harry serving with the Gurkhas
Prince Harry famously served alongside the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles during his tour of Afghanistan in 2007-2008. During his stint in-country he memorably commented:
“When you know you are with the Gurkhas, I think there’s no safer place to be.”
2. The creation of QGOOs
The Queen insists that Gurkha Orderly Officers (QGOOs) are by her side at public events. In fact, the QGOOs actually date back to Queen Victoria who established this position in 1876.
In 1954, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II reintroduced this practice by commanding that two Gurkha Officers should be nominated annually as ‘The Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers’. To this day two soldiers (rotated annually) attend official functions by the Her Majesty’s side.
3. The Queen at G200
2015 was the bicentenary of the Gurkhas fighting alongside Great Britain – 200 years of courageous and loyal service in the British Army. To celebrate this momentous milestone, amongst other members of the Royal Family, The Queen attended the G200 pageant in London in recognition of all that the Gurkhas have done for Britain.
4. Princess Mary and the 10th Gurkha Rifles
Royals showed their support with the renaming of the 10th Gurkha Rifles in Princess Mary’s honour following her service in World War Two. From 1949 they became 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles.
5. Gurkhas at the Royal Wedding
Because of his strong connection with the Gurkha regiments, there was no surprise that Gurkha soldiers were invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
Watch how they got prepared for the big day:
Amongst the Gurkhas involved was Captian Chandrabahadur Pun who served with Prince Harry in Afghanistan. His Royal Highness actually stopped to shake hands with Chandra and introduce him to Prince William before entering the ceremony.
Captain Jiwan Gurung, who was also a part of the day spoke about being part of the RGR guard for the Royal Wedding:
6. The Prince of Wales becomes Colonel in Chief of RGR
Prince Charles is not only our Patron but also the Colonel in Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.
The Prince of Wales’ link to the Royal Gurkha Rifles dates back to 1977 when he became Colonel-in-Chief of the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles).
At a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace last year, speaking to around 150 soldiers and their family members present in the palace, the Prince said:
“Your forefathers would be most proud of you here today, continuing to demonstrate the traditions and achievements that together ensure the worldwide reputation of the Gurkhas as the best soldiers.”
7. Princess Diana’s visit to Nepal
Harry’s Mother Princess Diana visited our work during a tour of Nepal in 1993. Here she is being greeted in the village of Majua, close to our Welfare Centre in Terathum, Nepal:
8. Prince Harry’s visit to our work in Nepal
In March 2016 we were also honoured to welcome HRH Prince Harry to some of our rebuilding projects in Nepal.
The Prince met pupils and staff from Shree Gaunda School, located in Okhari village in the district of Lamjung. The school was completely destroyed by 2015 earthquake.
As well as visiting the school project, Prince Harry also spent time with some of our Welfare Pensioners. He visited a Gurkha veteran and two widows from Lamjung District, whose homes we rebuilt – and even spent the night in one of the new houses.
9. The Queen at Alice in Wonderland Premiere
The Trust’s relationship with the Royal Family didn’t just take place in recent years. We’ve been grateful for their support for many years. Here, Queen Elizabeth II is pictured attending the premiere of Alice in Wonderland in London, which was held in aid of The Gurkha Welfare Trust.
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