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 Major General R W Wooddisse CBE MC.
Major General Wooddisse joined the Army in 1991 after completing a degree at University College London. His first posting was to the 2nd
Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment, an armoured infantry battalion based in Germany. In the first part of his career he served in a number of junior officer appointments within his unit, saw operational service in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, and trained extensively in Canada, Norway, France and Brunei.
In 2000 he was selected to command a rifle company before attending Staff College for 2 years. Post Staff College, he returned to sub-unit command where he deployed on a number of operations of varying length and intensity, including to Iraq. His first staff job was as the Military Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, a post which included a 9 month tour to Kabul as part of HQ ISAF. On completion of his staff tour he served as a member of the Directing Staff at the Advanced Command and Staff Course from where he returned to Iraq on a short-notice operational tour. He assumed command of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in March 2009, first in Germany and then in Cyprus from where he commanded the Theatre Reserve Battalion. After completing the Higher Command and Staff Course he served in the Ministry of Defence where he was responsible for military planning for a variety of operations and contingencies. He commanded 38 (Irish) Brigade between 2013-15 and served as the Assistant Chief of Staff J3 at PJHQ between 2015-2017. He assumed command of 1st (United Kingdom) Division in May 2017.
Major General Wooddisse is married and has 3 daughters. When the demands of military and family life allow, he enjoys running, hill-walking, cycling and reading.