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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Prince retires regiment colours
Prince Charles
The Prince chatted with regiment members past and present
Prince Charles joined soldiers and ex-servicemen in Aberdeen to officially retire the last stand of colours of the Gordon Highlanders.

The Gordon Highlanders amalgamated with the Queen's Own Highlanders in 1994 to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons).

Prince Charles visited the regiment's museum in Aberdeen on Thursday with Aberdeen Lord Provost John Reynolds.

Wearing a Gordons' tartan kilt, the Prince, who is the regiment's deputy colonel in chief, was presented to regiment members past and present.

He then gave his permission for the regiment's colours - which he presented to the Gordon Highlanders in 1988 - to be "laid up" in the museum.

Following the brief ceremony, Prince Charles was joined by local dignitaries and members of the regiment at a special church service.

'Wonderful day'

Major Malcolm Ross, assistant regimental secretary of the Highlanders, spoke of the significance of the occasion.

He said: "It's a great occasion and a very proud moment for all of us.

"We are delighted that the Prince is here along with regimental veterans and it has been a wonderful day."

Prince Charles
Charles had originally presented the battle colours 15 years ago
Major Ross also commented on speculation that the regiment could be scrapped in a round of defence cuts.

He said: "It would be a tremendous shame from a military point of view.

"This part of the country has provided a large source of manpower, well above the national average, and it would be a great shame to get rid of it."

Prince Charles presented the colours to the first battalion of the Gordon Highlanders at Fort George in Inverness-shire 15 years ago.

They were then carried by the new regiment following the amalgamation in 1994.

However, new colours were presented to the new regiment's first battalion in 2000 by the Duke of Edinburgh and Charles.

Among the places where the old colours saw duty were Berlin, Londonderry and Edinburgh.

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