Saturday, 13 September 2014


The Regiment’s first Colonel-in-Chief, Her Royal Highness Princess Patricia of Connaught, was born on March 17th, 1886, St. Patrick’s Day. She was the daughter of the distinguished Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, and the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Princess Patricia’s mother was Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia. 

In 1911, the Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s third son and favourite child, was appointed Governor General of Canada. He was the first Royal to take this post in Canada. Princess Patricia, a well traveled young woman, accompanied her parents and settled into Rideau Hall in Ottawa. She endeared herself to Canadians with her easy natural style and vivacious personality. She embraced the Canadian way of life and eagerly participated in games and outdoor sports. A talented artist, she was happiest wearing her painting smock with brushes in hand and was captivated by the Canadian landscape. The glamorous and elegant Princess, who had won all hearts by her charm and beauty, graced Canada’s newest Regiment with her name. 

Princess Patricia in the gardens
Princess Patricia at her easel 

Princess Patricia’s greatest passion in life was her artwork and as such she took great pleasure in personally designing the Regimental cap and collar badges bearing the insignia of a single white daisy in honour of Hamilton Gault’s lovely wife, Marguerite. She also designed the original Camp Colour for the Regiment to take overseas. It was hand-sewn by the Princess herself and presented to the Regiment on the 23rd of August, 1914. It was carried by the Regiment into every battle throughout the First World War. On 28 January 1919, it was formally consecrated and became the Regimental Colour.

The original Marguerite Cap Badge

The original RIC-A-DAM-DOO

Throughout the early war years Princess Patricia worked for the Canadian Red Cross and upon her return to England in 1916 she worked at the Maple Leaf Club for Canadian Soldiers in London and at the Canadian Hospital in Orpington. All her efforts were focused on helping wounded Canadian soldiers during the war.  

Rumours of romance had been circulating for years about Princess Patricia and speculation around her ultimate partner in marriage was a favourite topic in Edwardian times. Several foreign princes, including the future Kings of Portugal and Spain and the Grand Duke Michael of Russia had been considered for the match. In the end, though, her choice of husband was not of royal blood, but a commoner, Naval Officer Commander Sir Alexander Ramsey. They had fallen in love when they met in Ottawa several years before the war and discretely courted until the announcement of their marriage. On their wedding day, February 27, 1919, Princess Patricia of Connaught relinquished the style of Royal Highness and the title of Princess of Great Britain and Ireland and assumed the style of “Lady Patricia Ramsey”. Regardless of the loss of her royal title, the couple, along with their one son, were always active members of the extended royal family. She remained in the line of succession and attended all major royal events. 

Official Department of National Defence Portrait 

Princess Patricia held her appointment as Colonel-in-Chief and played an active role in the Regiment until her death. She was succeeded in 1974 by her cousin and goddaughter, the Rt. Hon. Lady Patricia Brabourne, the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, and daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten. The Countess asked that her titles be disregarded and that she be referred to as Lady Patricia in honour of her predecessor. Madame Adrienne Clarkson, a former Governor General of Canada, took over the appointment on March 17th 2007, becoming the first Canadian to hold the appointment and serves currently as the Regiment’s third Colonel in Chief.

The original Colour, designed by Princess Patricia and commonly referred to as the RIC-A-DAM-DOO, is located in The Hall of Honour in the PPCLI Museum in the Military Museums in Calgary with the original wreath of laurel. Historically and symbolically, it represents the heart and spirit of the Regiment. At a farewell parade at Bramshot, England, on the 21st February, 1919 Princess Patricia decorated her Colour with a wreath of Laurel in silver gilt (known as the "Wreath of Immortelles”). A facsimile of the wreath of laurel is now carried on the pike of all three Regimental Colours. 

A collection of Princess Patricia’s still-lifes and landscapes are also housed in the PPCLI Museum and Archives in Calgary.