Throughout its long and distinguished history as a military school we have observed the finest ceremonial traditions from our military past. In 1801, His Royal Highness, Frederick Duke of York laid the foundation stone in Chelsea of what was to become the Duke of York’s Royal Military School (it is now the Saatchi Gallery). Originally it was an orphanage for children of soldiers who fell in battle and was Britain’s first coeducational state funded and state administered school.
The first boys and girls entered the school in 1803 and in 1909 it moved to its present location in Dover. The school’s own museum tells part of the rich narrative of the past.
One of our most distinctive historical hallmarks was inscribed upon us in 1825 when we were granted the privilege of carrying Colours, and the original Colours were presented by King George IV at Chelsea.
Colours began as group rallying points in battle. They were carried down the ranks at the end of a day’s march and ceremonially lodged for the night at the unit headquarters, which was also the alarm post for assembly in emergency. In the morning the Colours were solemnly escorted from the place of lodging back to the ranks of the unit. These ceremonies, which had a practical origin in battle and camp, became invested with a certain reverence, eventually representing the ‘spirit’ of a Regiment. The process of Lodging the Colours was developed into a ceremony of Trooping at Guard Mounting, and later evolved into Trooping the Colour. The School Colour which is trooped today as part of school’s prestigious Grand Day was presented to the school by Field Marshal HRH The Duke of Kent KG, GCMG, GCVO, ADC in 2003.