Kate Middleton dons military fatigues and drives seven-tonne armoured truck during regiment visit

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Princess of Wales looked every bit the Colonel-in-Chief of 1st the Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG) during her debut visit to the regiment in Norfolk on Wednesday (8 November).

Kate, 41, donned a camo outfit and drove a seven-tonne armoured vehicle equipped with a machine gun, and was described as “a natural” on her first visit to the Welsh Cavalry at Robertson Barracks, Dereham, since receiving the title from King Charles in August.

Dressed in a combat jacket and helmet, Kate also tried her hand at flying a reconnaisance drone and was shown weapons inside a troop hide.

She also sported a red poppy brooch on the jacket during her visit ahead of Remembrance Sunday, with the floral honouring fallen members of the military.

Princess of Wales touches a pony as she visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment for the first time (Getty Images)
Princess of Wales touches a pony as she visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment for the first time (Getty Images)

Corporal Darreyl Tukana, the driving instructor who sat beside Kate in the heavy-weight Jackal, drove her to the troop hide before letting the princess drive them back.

Praising Kate, he said afterwards: “She was a natural. She drives a Land Rover back at home – I told her it’s exactly the same, just take it slowly and go back to where we started off from.

“She was enjoying every bit of the journey itself,” he added.

Princess of Wales flies a drone as she visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment for the first time (REUTERS)
Princess of Wales flies a drone as she visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment for the first time (REUTERS)

The royal mother-of-two remarked that “it’s really great” after bringing the Jackal 2 vehicle to a stop, adding: “It’s very responsive actually, given the size of the thing.”

Kate was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment during a reshuffle of military roles held by senior members of the royal family in August; the duty was previously carried out by her father-in-law Charles when he was the Prince of Wales.

Before she left the Norfolk regiment, Kate was presented with the Queen’s Dragoon Guards brooch, which was made in 1959 for the Queen Mother, who also served as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment, during her visit.

She also awarded long service and good conduct medals and took a moment to remember those lost in active service ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

Princess of Wales looks at the pictures of the fallen soldiers of the Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment (REUTERS)
Princess of Wales looks at the pictures of the fallen soldiers of the Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment (REUTERS)

Before she left by helicopter, Kate promoted the regimental mascot, a Bay Welsh Mountain pony called Trooper ‘Longface’ Emrys Jones, from Lance Corporal to Corporal.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Kierstead, the commanding officer of the regiment, said: “I think she enjoyed herself and all the soldiers and officers have enjoyed meeting her.”

The Queen’s Dragoon Guards specialise in reconnaissance and were recently deployed to Mali, in 2021 and 2022, as part of a peacekeeping operation. The unit has been active for over 300 years.

The regiment was formed in 1959 from the amalgamation of the two senior Cavalry regiments, 1st King’s Dragoon Guards and The Queen’s Bays.