Charles presented with Mala garland as he visits the Royal Gurkha Rifles

The Prince of Wales wore a traditional Nepalese Mala garland as he marked 25 years of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

Heir to the throne Charles visited the troops at Sir John Moore Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, to hand out operation medals following the regiment’s recent tour of Afghanistan.

Prince of Wales visiting the Gurkhas
The Prince of Wales receives a mala garland during a visit to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Charles – who was presented with the large Mala in the regimental colours of black, red and rifle green – also met the soldiers’ families.

He used a large kuri – a traditional Nepalese knife and the symbol of the Gurkhas – to cut a birthday cake decorated in the same colours.

The prince taking part in the celebrations
Charles cuts a cake to mark the 25th anniversary (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The prince received a royal salute as the Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.

Major General Gez Strickland, colonel of The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: “The Prince of Wales has been an ardent supporter of the regiment for the last 25 years.

“It was fantastic to have him join the wider regimental family in celebration of our silver jubilee and continued success on operations.”

The Prince of Wales at Sir John Moore Barracks, Folkestone (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Charles presented medals to around 40 soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles and 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, who were attached to the Gurkhas during their tour.

The Gurkhas returned from Kabul in May and had been part of Operation Resolute Support: Nato’s Train, Advise, Assist Mission in Afghanistan.

The prince presenting medals (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Lieutenant colonel Chris Conroy, the commanding officer, said: “It is great to be home after six months’ hard deployment over an Afghan winter.”

He praised the prince, saying: “He is a great supporter of The Royal Gurkha Rifles and we are very much in his debt.”

In a foreword for a book commemorating 25 years of the regiment, Charles
praised the 1st Battalion for “maintaining the traditions and standards of its forebears” and for “building a reputation of its own”.

He added: “During the last 25 years, I have felt incredibly proud to see so many members of the regiment receiving honours and awards for their gallantry and leadership.”

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