Prince Harry recalled the tough times of his own experience at Sandhurst as he attended the Trooping of the Sovereign’s Banner and The Academy Sergeant Major’s Sword.
The Royal, who is getting married on May 19th next year, attended as the Queen’s representative. He observed the Parade, inspected the troops and gave an address to the Platoons and spectators.
A key part of the ceremonial event is the recognition of individual Cadets who have performed well.
The UAE’s Officer Cadet Sheikh Khaled bin Mohammed bin Hamdan Al-Nahyan was awarded the Major General Diwan Misri Chand Platoon Award. He was recognised for demonstrating outstanding innovation and purpose, character and boldness throughout the course.
Other award winners included Office Cadet Fawaz Ama M A Al-Kandari from Kuwait, who was given the King Hussein Award for the most most improved Cadet. Officer Cadet Ashraf Said Hamdoon Al-Nabhani from Oman won the Hodson’s Horse Merit AWard, given to the International Cadet who has produced an overall performance of particular merit.
After speaking with individual Cadets and watching the ceremonial marching, Prince Harry made a speech to the Platoons - some 11 years after being in their shoes.
“It is not the first time that I have been part of this parade but it is certainly my first one facing [the cadets] and with facial hair,” Prince Harry joked.
He went on to speak about the bonds of friendship that are forged during the tough training regime at Sandhurst, saying: “You have also been incredibly fortunate to have shared this course with people from many backgrounds, nations, religions and cultures. There is surely no better way of knowing who someone really is than digging trenches in the pouring rain with little food and even less sleep. These bonds of friendship transcend race, colour and belief and will last a life time, even if you only get to see each other once in a blue moon.”
Prince Harry began his military career as an Officer Cadet at the Sandhurst in May 2005 and after successfully completing his training course he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Household Cavalry. He went on to serve with the British Armed Forces for ten years where he undertook two operational tours of Afghanistan. In June 2015 he left operational service after organising the inaugural Invictus Games in London , an international adaptive sporting event for the wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women in 2014.
The Parade was accompanied by music from The Band of the Scots Guards, and as well as traditional numbers such as the Sandhurst Slow March, it also included some more pop culture inclusions, such as Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.
Trooping of the Sovereign’s Banner and The Academy Sergeant Major’s Sword has a long history.
Traditionally “The Colours”, the name for the banners, were used as rallying points on the battlefield and to ensure soldiers could recognise them, before battle they were paraded through the ranks. This is known as Trooping the Colour.
The Sovereign’s Banner is the Colour of the Sovereign’s Platoon, and is presented to them on this parade. This trooping starts when an orderly crosses the parade ground to take the pace stick from the Academy Serjeant Major who then draws his sword. This is significant because it is the only time a Regimental Sergeant Major will draw his sword on a parade ground during peacetime and only routinely happens on the Sovereign’s Parade and the Queen’s Birthday Parade.