The Queen has celebrated becoming the longest-serving Captain-General of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) by unveiling a specially commissioned bronze bust.
The Company, which includes all parts of the HAC not just the serving regiment, has had a member of the Royal Family, and more recently the monarch, as its titular head for nearly all of its 479 years. Earlier this month, the Queen, who became Captain-General on her accession to the throne 64 years ago, surpassed the previous longest server, George IV.
The Queen was welcomed to the Artillery Garden, the grounds of the Company’s headquarters, by the President and Colonel Commandant of the HAC, General Sir Richard Barrons, with Prince Michael of Kent, Royal Honorary Colonel of the HAC, also in attendance.
With over 1,200 members of the HAC and their guests looking on, the Queen unveiled the bronze, by sculptor Antony Dufort, before meeting members from all parts of the Company, including the Regiment, the Band, the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers, the Special Constabulary the Light Cavalry and the HAC Cadets.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wood, Commanding Officer of the HAC Regiment said: "We've got a long, proud history and association with the Royal Family and the Queen in particular as our Captain-General. To have her here today to mark her longest service as our Captain-General has been absolutely amazing and we're incredibly privileged, particularly in what is such a busy year for Her Majesty.
"Let's not forget that essentially the Queen was, in modern language, a reservist in the Second World War. So I think she understands the service that the regiment provides.”
A unique regiment, the HAC was formed in 1537 but for the last century has been part of the Territorial Army, now Army Reserve. It is a surveillance and target acquisition (STA) regiment but has recently re-acquired one of its traditional roles, artillery, with the formation of the Para Gun Troop. The Regiment also provides Guards of Honour in the City and fires Gun Salutes at HM Tower of London.
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