Address to the Sovereigns Parade Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II

Address to the Sovereigns Parade Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

11 August 2017

جلالة الملك يلقي كلمة للخريجين في أكاديمية ساندهيرست - آب 2017

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate 

Officer Cadets,
Staff of the Royal Military Academy,
Distinguished Guests:

I am honoured to represent Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on this special occasion. And it is not the first time I have had the privilege to attend the Sovereign’s Parade.

Many years ago, I was a cadet standing where you are now.

The memories of that day have stayed with me, making it a distinct pleasure to address today’s cadets and Academy staff; their families and friends; and the distinguished guests who joined us.

My first-hand experience also allows me to have a fair idea what is occupying the minds of those present.

The Commandant and his staff are thinking: ‘Well, it’s been a great day... so far.’ They are hoping that my speech doesn’t rain on the Parade.
The graduating cadets are thinking: ‘Hurry it along—Sir.’ They want to get up those steps.

The parents are thinking: ‘No, no, don’t rush the tributes to our sons and daughters!’ Nothing could be a prouder moment for the families and friends of these fine cadets.

And I should know, my son Hussein is one of them.

And the instructors… well, having learnt from, and endured under some splendid Colour Sergeants, I know how much blood, sweat and tears go into achieving the standards required.

We can see the fruits of your labours today. These cadets and their instructors have displayed outstanding precision and panache—Sandhurst at its best. And Senior Division, you were immaculate.

But what the rest of us must not forget is what lies behind this impressive performance. That is, the iron self-discipline and mutual support on which great soldiering depends. Nowhere is this taught more effectively than here, at the RMA. Because as Sandhurst’s motto recognises, one cannot lead unless one serves. In other words, working with, and supporting the success of others.

You, young officers, have chosen a noble career of service. Wherever you go, and whatever challenges you face, you will stand as exemplars of duty, honour and resolve.

So let me say a few words directly to you, as fellow officers.

You and your soldiers will have unprecedented resources to hand. Over the course of your careers, technology will advance relentlessly. But remember this first: Nothing, nothing, will substitute for the quality of your command.

In the years ahead, your soldiers will look to you for guidance and inspiration. They will want to know that you care for them and their families. They will model their behaviour on your integrity. They will get their courage from your steadfastness. And these attributes are not reserved for the military, but are equally applicable in public service and business.

These are huge, and, at times, daunting responsibilities. You must strive to be the best. Understand you will not be alone; your friends in your platoon and companies will be lifelong, because you have learned that working for each other is the way to succeed. Some of your most important friendships, forged in the mud and rain of Brecon, will be those with cadets from different countries, different cultures, and religions. Indeed, the enduring bonds that began here can help all of you lead the global understanding that a secure and peaceful future requires.

A second guiding thought is this: However far your careers take you, always remember where you started. This past year has given you memories you will not forget—the often-horrible weather, or the times you felt like throwing in the towel. And, I know, you will always remember the first time you were called ‘Sir’, even though we quickly learned what Regimental Sergeant Majors really mean: ‘I will call you “Sir”, and you will call me “Sir”—the difference is you mean it, and I don’t!’

But it is just as important to remember the many who helped when things were toughest—friends and family who cheered you on, from the day you arrived here, with your ironing boards. On behalf of Her Majesty, I thank them most sincerely. And I know how important they will be to you, as you go out into this hugely exciting, challenging, and, at times, dangerous career.

Third and last, always act in a way you can be proud of.

Not every day will be a good one. You may not win every battle. But, however many times you get knocked down in life, you can, and must, get up again.

In this profession of arms, you are now where the buck stops. You are graduating, because people believed in you. You must now believe in yourself and rise to the challenges ahead.

However difficult, do what is right. Be confident in what your instructors have taught you. Take strength from your family and faith. And, above all, my fellow officers, never stop Serving to Lead.

Oh, and never stop ‘bulling’ your shoes. It’s a small, humble task, but small things are the beginning of everything.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.

Congratulations to you all.

And may you always be successful, happy, and safe.