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Presentation of Colours to “The Royal Scots” 26 Sept 1876


Balmoral, September 26, 1876

An earlier lunch. It had appeared to clear, and the rain was far less heavy. We started at three. The ladies and gentlemen had all gone on before in carriages, and many of our people went to Ballater, as it was a great novelty for the people here—William Brown and his wife, who had said yesterday she had never seen so many soldiers together and would therefore like to go; Hugh Brown and his wife. Mrs. Profeit [Wife of my Commissioner at Balmoral] with her children was there also. Alice, Beatrice, and Arthur were with me. The weather held up while we were going to Ballater, which we did in a closed landau (Brown and Collins on the rumble.) Just outside the village we opened the carriage. We drove to the left of the railway through a wood, avoiding the town, preceded by Captain Charles Phipps, as Assistant Adjutant Quartermaster-General, on to the open space—a beautiful position, with the noble rocky high hill of Craig an Dorrark, at the foot of which lie the Pass of Ballater and the park of Monaltrie House with the hills opposite. Nothing could be finer. A great many people were there, it is said between two and three thousand; but none of the spectators were in uniform. Alix was in a carriage, Bertie and the boys (in Highland dress) and Prince John of Gliicksburgf on foot. They stood near me, so did Arthur (also in his kilt), who had got out of the carriage. Then followed, after the Royal salute, the trooping of the colours, with all its peculiar and interesting customs, marching and counter marching, the band playing the fine old marches of the “Garb of old Gaul” and “Dumbarton Drums,” also the march from the “Fille du Regiment,” which was evidently played as a compliment to me, whom they considered as “born in the regiment,” my father having commanded it at the time I was born. Then came the piling of the drums and the prayer by Mr. Middleton, minister of Ballater, after which the new colours were given to me. I handed them to the two sub-lieutenants who were kneeling, and then I said the following words:—

“In entrusting these colours to your charge, it gives me much pleasure to remind you that I have been associated with your regiment from my earliest infancy, as my dear father was your Colonel. He was proud of his profession, and I was always told to consider myself a soldier’s child. I rejoice in having a son who has devoted his life to the army, and who, I am confident, will ever prove worthy of the name of a British soldier. I now present these colours to you, convinced that you will always uphold the glory and reputation of my first Regiment of Foot — the Royal Scots.”

Colonel M’Guire then spoke a few words in reply, and brought the old colours to me, and begged me to accept them. In doing so, I said I should take them to Windsor, and place them there in recollection of the regiment and their Colonel. Then they marched past well (they were fine men), and after the Royal salute gave three cheers for me. The 79th kept the ground and took charge of the old colours. We left at once.

The rain continued persistently, having got worse just as the prayer began; but we kept the carriage open, and were back by half-past five.

I was terribly nervous while speaking.


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