Kate Middleton wears military uniform to drive seven-tonne armoured vehicle

The Princess of Wales drove a seven-tonne armoured vehicle equipped with a machine gun and was described as “a natural” on her first visit to 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards.

Kate Middleton, 41, exclaimed “it’s really great” after bringing the Jackal 2 vehicle to a stop, adding: “It’s very responsive actually, given the size of the thing.”

She donned a combat jacket and helmet and was also shown weapons in a troop hide and tried her hand at flying a drone during her visit to Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley, Norfolk.

Corporal Darreyl Tukana, a driving instructor, sat beside Kate in the Jackal 2 on Wednesday.

He drove her to a troop hide, then let her take the controls to drive them back to where they started.

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.

“But I switched it on, put it into gear and I told her it’s just like a normal car.”

He said the vehicles weigh 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.

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.”

Kate 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, during her visit.

She awarded long service and good conduct medals and took a moment to remember those lost in active service ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

Before she left by helicopter, Kate promoted the regimental mascot, a Bay Welsh Mountain pony called Trooper ‘Longface’ Emrys Jones, from Lance Corporal to Corporal.

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.”

The Queen’s Dragoon Guards specialise in reconnaissance and were recently deployed to Mali, in 2021 and 2022, as part of a peacekeeping operation.

The Queen’s Dragoon Guards have been active for more than 300 years.

The regiment was formed in 1959 from the amalgamation of the two senior Cavalry regiments, 1st King’s Dragoon Guards and The Queen’s Bays.

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