It is customary for regiments of the British Army to have a member of the Royal family as Colonel in Chief or titular head of the regiment. On formation of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment in 1958, Her Royal Highness Princess Marina was appointed by the Her Majesty The Queen as our Colonel in Chief. This was greeted with great satisfaction by the Regiment, as HRH's appointment continued the link with the House of Kent that dated back to Christmas Eve 1802, when the 54th of Foot (later 2nd Dorsets) saved the then Duke of Kent, Governor of Gibraltar, from the drunken rampages of civilians and troops from other regiments.
Her Royal Highness's early duties included presentation of the first stand of Regimental Colours to the 1st Battalion on Plymouth Hoe in 1962. Thereafter she continued to be a much loved and regular visitor to the Regiment until her sad death in August 1968.
After the proscribed period of Royal Mourning, HRH the Duke of Kent was graciously appointed Colonel in Chief of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment in 1977 and made his first visit to the 1st Battalion in Germany the following year. For the next thirty years, HRH remain an active participant in the life of the Regiment. His final act as our Colonel in Chief was the laying up of the Regimental Colours in Exeter Cathedral in January 2007, just days before the Devon and Dorsets's amalgamation into the Rifles.