Camilla was in high spirits as she presented medals to ten soldiers – handpicked for their exceptional service in Iraq last year – as well as two soldiers being honoured for their length of stay.
The visit took place at Lille Barracks in Aldershot in Hampshire. Camilla became colonel of the Grenadier Guards – famed for wearing bearskin hats – in December.
She was then briefed in private by Lt Col Johnson in the officers’ mess on the battalion’s recent deployments and plans for the next year.
A short time later, Camilla spoke to around 30 officers at a small reception where Lt Col Johnson, the commanding officer, presented a champagne toast to celebrate her first visit.
It was then time for photos – which led to some confusion for Camilla. As the group gathered on the steps of the officers’ mess, she noticed two soldiers who had positioned themselves on the floor.
Second Lieutenant Archie Deninson-Smith, 24, told PA: “She was just asking if I was okay and then she asked why the two junior officers were on the floor. It was a nod to recreating that picture. We explained why it was.”
Camilla proved to be a big hit on her visit. Lance Corporal Jamie McCulloch, 34 – who was one of those given a medal by Camilla, told PA: “It was very special as it is the first time I have met any member of the royal family. She was very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in who we were, and she met my parents who were very kind to her.
“She said ‘thank you for what you do’, your service, and for doing a good job.
“They very kindly put forward people who had done a very good job out there. It was interesting and actually pretty steady in Iraq and we got to see Irbil.
“My parents Gill and Nick seem very proud and are very happy to be here. They were very pleased that Camilla spoke to them and she seemed very interested in where they are from and what they do.”