Her Royal Highness Princess Anne visited Moncton, New Brunswick in May 2023 to celebrate the 8th Canadian Hussars’ 175th anniversary. Princess Anne has served as the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief since 1972. Her Royal Highness is Colonel-in-Chief of seven Canadian military regiments and patron of numerous Canadian charities and organizations. Among them, our very own Communications and Electronics Branch.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, appointed, HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Communications and Electronics (C&E) Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces on June 11, 1977 during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and has held the position for the subsequent 46 years!
With a half-century of service and dedication, HRH Princess Anne has had historical significance, and enduring impact through her association with this vital military branch.
HRH Princess Anne is the second of two Colonel-in-Chiefs of the Communications and Electronics Branch.
Our first Colonel-in-Chief was Her Royal Highness, Mary, The Princess Royal, CI, GCVO, GBE, RRC, TD, CD, DCL, LLD, served as the first Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals from her appointment on 29 May 1940 until her death on 15 March 1965.
Noticeably, for twelve years between March 1965 and June 1977 the C&E Branch did not have an official Colonel-in-Chief, until, June 11, 1977 when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II appointed HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal as our Colonel-in-Chief where she has served ever since.
As Colonel in Chief, Princess Anne assumed a symbolic leadership role, representing the C&E Branch and its personnel. Her presence and involvement in events, Royal Tours like her 2013 visit to Kingston, Ontario to mark the 110th anniversary of military communications, and establishment of awards like the Colonel-in-Chief Branch Commendation demonstrated her commitment to the Branch’s mission.
Princess Anne’s appointment had a lasting impact on the C&E Branch and the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole. Her association with the Branch brought increased visibility and prestige, raising awareness about the critical role of communication and electronic operations.
Endorsement of C&E Branch historical projects like the Semaphore to Satellite: A story of Canadian Military Communications from 1903-2013 available online at the Mercury Shop. The Princess Anne Suite at the Vimy Officer’s Mess and on Princess Royal are named in her honour.