November 28, 2022

What Is The Camp Colour King Charles Placed On The Queen’s Coffin?

On September 19, 2022, during Queen Elizabeth II’s committal service at Windsor Castle, King Charles III approached her casket, deep emotion on his face, and laid a small crimson silk flag at its foot. The laying on of the flag, known as the Queen’s Company Camp Colour, was just one symbolic portion of the service at the royal castle in Berkshire County where the queen is now buried, according to The U.K. Sun.

The colour featured an embroidered lion in the center with a crown above and below it along with the words “Queen’s Company Royal Crest” on crimson silk, per Entertainment Tonight. The colour laid on the casket was a smaller version of the regimental flag of the Grenadier Guards, with the official and much longer title of The Queen’s Company Colour Royal Standard of the Regiment, as The Sun notes. While the colour may not be all that well known, the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, certainly are thanks in part to their bright red uniforms and bearskin hats.

A look at the Grenadier Guards 

The Grenadier Guards is one of the oldest regiments in the British Army, dating back to the 17th century, according to NationalWorld. They serve a dual role, guarding the monarch and their palaces, including Buckingham Palace, along with other ceremonial duties. The Grenadier Guards also serve overseas as Light Role Infantry and have been involved in some of Britain’s most iconic military engagements — from the Battle of Waterloo, in which Napoleon was routed in 1815, to the Crimean War in the 1850s and both World Wars, per Army Be the Best.

But it is Grenadier Guards’ special relationship with the monarchy that really distinguishes them. Until her death, Queen Elizabeth II held the title of Company Commander of the Grenadier Guards’ Queen’s Company and personally reviewed the troops once a decade, according to Army Be the Best. The Grenadier Guards’ duties to the queen didn’t end at her death. They guarded her body during the various ceremonies and acted as casket bearers.

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The Queen’s Camp Colour will never be seen again

The Camp Colour is specific to the reigning monarch and because Queen Elizabeth reigned for seven decades, hers was the oldest still in use. Made during her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth presented it to the Queen’s Company not long after at a ceremony at Windsor Castle, per Army Be the Best. And now it has been returned. The colour was retired as of September 19, 2022.

Besides King Charles III laying the colour on his mother’s casket — one of the last portions of the ceremony at Windsor Castle before her burial — there were other highly symbolic actions designating the transfer of power to King Charles, including the breaking of the Wand of Office by the Lord Chamberlain, Sir Andrew Parker, who placed it on the coffin to signal the end of his service to the queen, per The National. Before this, the Crown Jeweler removed the queen’s crown, scepter, and orb. Similarly, the British Army notes that the Queen’s Company will now be known as the King’s Company. Soon, King Charles III will have his own Camp Colour that the Grenadier Guards will use until his death.