Under grey skies, the Queen, Colonel-in-Chief of the Coldstream Guards, gave the unit’s 1st and 2nd Battalions new regimental banners at Windsor Castle.
The officers and soldiers, immaculate in their scarlet tunics and bearskins, lined up to be inspected by the Queen and proudly wore the new military honour minted to mark her 60-year reign.
In stands overlooking the castle’s quadrangle their wives, girlfriends and parents shivered as light rain fell steadily.
The Coldstream Guards is the oldest regiment in the British Army, having been in unbroken service to the nation since 1650. The 2nd Battalion is known as the No 7 Company and just performs ceremonial duties.
In 1660 General George Monck was instrumental in the restoration of the monarchy and yesterday’s parade was an extension of the tradition of loyalty to the Crown.
The Queen praised the Coldstream Guards in a speech to the soldiers after the ceremony.
She said: “Thirteen years have passed since I presented you with the Colours which have just been marched off Since then, there have been many changes in your ranks, but the spirit of the regiment has remained intact through all the challenges and dangers which you have been required to face.
“Pre-eminent in ceremonial duties, like the other members of the Household Division Family, the Coldstream Guards have demonstrated both in Iraq and Afghanistan that they remain always ready and able to function as a first-class fighting unit.
“In addition, individuals have played their part when seconded for operational duties in other parts of the world.
“I know that in the future your activities will continue to enhance the reputation which the Coldstream have so justly achieved,” she said.