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Evolution of a Name
The regiment was raised in November 1688 by Colonel Francis Luttrell at Dunster Castle in Somerset, for service under William, Prince of Orange.
It was during the Wars of the Austrian Succession, that the Regiment first became known as ‘The Green Howards’. Their Colonel was the Honourable Charles Howard, and, as regiments took their names from their Colonel, it was known as ‘Howard’s Regiment’. However, in the same campaign there was another regiment whose Colonel was called Howard. Charles Howard’s men wore green facings on their uniforms so they became ‘The Green Howards’, a nickname which stuck until 1920 when it became the official title of the regiment. The other regiment became known as ‘The Buff Howards’.
The regiment was granted the title of ‘The 19th (First Yorkshire North Riding Regiment) of Foot’ on returning from the American War of Independence. However, it was only in 1873 that Richmond in North Yorkshire became the regiment’s home town.
The Princess of Wales, then Princess Alexandra of Denmark, and later Queen Alexandra, presented the regiment with new Colours to replace those carried throughout the Crimean War. The regiment was then granted the title of ‘The Princess of Wales’s Own’.
The name of the regiment was altered to ‘The Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment)’.
Following The Boer War the name was changed once more – ‘Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment’.
Queen Alexandra became Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment in 1914. Her daughter married Prince Carl of Denmark, later King Haakon VII of Norway, who in 1942 became Colonel-in-Chief. The honour was passed to his son, King Olav V, and, in turn, to his son King Harald V, the present King of Norway.
The Princess also designed a new cap badge for the regiment. Cap badges have changed regularly over the years, and the museum collection includes an example of every cap badge from 1872 to 2006.
The regiment became ‘The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment)’.
The regiment was disbanded. In 2006, The Green Howards were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales’ Own Regiment of Yorkshire and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment to form the Yorkshire Regiment. This new regiment had three regular battalions and a territorial battalion.
On 5 July 2012, the Secretary of state for Defence announced a reduction in five regular infantry battalions by 2016, requiring the 2nd battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) to be removed from the Order of Battle. The Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment and the regiment’s Executive Committee subsequently decided to merge the regiment to form two regular battalions in autumn 2013. The 3rd Battalion became the 1st, and the 1st Battalion became the 2nd, with the 4th remaining unchanged (although the designation ‘Territorial Army’ changed to ‘Army Reserve’ at the end of 2013).