Kate 'a natural' as she drives seven-tonne armoured vehicle and dons camouflage on visit to army barracks

8 November 2023, 21:36

Kate drove the Jackal 2
Kate drove the Jackal 2. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Kate Middleton has been described as a "natural" after driving a seven-tonne armoured car on a visit to an army barracks.

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The Princess of Wales wore camouflage gear and helmet as she drove the Jackal 2 vehicle during her visit to Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley, Norfolk on Wednesday.

She also flew a drone and was shown weapons in a troop hide on her visit with the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards regiment.

Corporal Darreyl Tukana sat beside Kate in the Jackal 2, which is armed with a machine gun.

Corporal Tukana, who is a driving instructor, drove her to a troop hide, then handed over to Kate to drive them back.

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The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment
The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment. Picture: Getty

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.

"It's different from what she's driving, it's a bigger vehicle."

Asked if he had to teach her much, he said: "Not really, I just needed to switch on a few toggle switches before start-up, because it's different from a car.

The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment
The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment. Picture: Getty

"But I switched it on, put it into gear and I told her it's just like a normal car."

The Jackal 2 weighs about seven tonnes and can reach 70mph.

Kate was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment by the King in August.

During her visit, Kate, who wore a poppy on her dark jacket, spoke with senior officers, soldiers and families.

Kate Ormston, 31, whose 38-year-old husband Staff Sergeant Paul Ormston is attached to the regiment, was with their two children Joey, 10, and six-year-old Jackson when she spoke to the princess.

The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment
The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment. Picture: Getty

She said: "It was really exciting.

"She asked about Army life and my husband being deployed, and just generally she was just really down to earth and friendly, it was really nice.

"She spoke to everyone individually, she introduced herself to the children and asked their names and ages which was really nice.

"I think they were a little bit overwhelmed as well."

She added: "She's done it herself, hasn't she, William's been in the military so she knows what it's like."

The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment
The Princess of Wales Visits The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regiment. Picture: Getty

Kate also promoted the regimental mascot, a Bay Welsh Mountain pony called Trooper 'Longface' Emrys Jones, from Lance Corporal to Corporal.

She 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.

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

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."

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