On joining, all members of the British Army swear an oath of allegiance to the ruling Sovereign, as by tradition the loyalty of the Army is to the Monarch and not the State. It is also traditional to have a member of the Royal Family as the honorary head, or Colonel-in-Chief, of the Regiment.
Since 21st April 2006 HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO has continued a long family association with the Regiment and its forebears in that capacity. His first message to the Regiment is reproduced below:
"When I was a small boy I was well aware that my father wore this enormous bearskin with his Guards uniform, but I was also aware that there were other soldiers who were not so flamboyant and that they fought in county regiments and that those who were in the Northamptonshire Regiment treated my mother (HRH Princess Alice) with great respect because she was their Colonel-in-Chief. This seemed to me much more important than the bearskin, which was just something that made it difficult to get through doors!"
"I am therefore very proud to think that half a century later I should be asked to take over the role my mother played so conscientiously, as Regiments merged, and the Royal Anglians came into being."
The Colonel of the Regiment is Lt Gen Phil Jones CBE, who assumed the post in October 2012.
Major General Phil Jones was born in Maldon, Essex. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into The Royal Anglian Regiment in 1981. His early years in the Army were spent at regimental duty with the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in UK, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Belize, and Germany.
Following a tour as the Brigade Operations Officer in HQ 8 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland, he attended the Army Staff Course at Camberley in 1993. He returned to 1 R ANGLIAN as a rifle company commander in 24 Airmobile Brigade. He remained within 24 Airmobile as the Brigade Chief of Staff until late 1995 when he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and posted to a NATO appointment as the Military Assistant to Commander in Chief Allied Forces Northwest Europe. In 2000 he completed seven months as the Chief of Operations for the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia.
At the end of 2000 he returned to Northern Ireland to take command of 1 R ANGLIAN. Six months after assuming command the battalion redeployed to the mechanised role in England. 1 R ANGLIAN deployed to Kabul in January - July 2002 following which he was promoted to Colonel. In 2003 he took up the appointment of Director Plans in the United States’ Combined Joint Task Force 180 (Afghanistan). On completion of this operational tour he became the Assistant Chief of Staff Plans within HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps where he led the planning effort for a potential deployment to Iraq followed by a deployment of the HQ to Kabul as HQ ISAF IX.
He was promoted to Brigadier and took command of 8 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland in November 2005, following which he returned to Afghanistan for a 13-month tour as the Military Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative. In 2007 he was posted to Washington DC as the Military Attaché.
Promoted to Major General, he returned to Afghanistan in May 2010 as Director of the Force Reintegration Cell, leading for 17 months the International Security Assistance Force’s work in support of the Afghanistan Peace and Reconciliation Programme. In October 2011 he became the first Chief of Staff of the Joint Forces Command.
In October 2013, he was promoted to Lieutenant General to take up the role of Chief of Staff NATO Supreme Allied Command Transformation based in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.