The Boys’ Brigade and Royal Patronage
Since 1897 The Boys’ Brigade has had the privilege of Royal Patronage. There have only been four Patrons of The Boys’ Brigade and from 1910 – when HM The Duke of York became HM King George V – the reigning monarch has been Patron.
Below are some highlights from the time each of these Royals was Patron of The Boys’ Brigade.
1897-1936 King George V (as The Duke of York 1887 – 1901, then The Prince of Wales, 1901 – 1910)
The first Royal Patron of The Boys’ Brigade and the only non-reigning monarch to hold the position (from 1887 to 1910 under the reigns of Queen Victoria and Edward VII). George V was active as Patron during his years as a Royal Prince, but as King his interactions with The Boys’ Brigade were more limited. Some highpoints under the first Royal Patron included:
- The Inspection of the Dublin Battalion (as Duke of York) in August 1897 in what was the largest Review of The Boys’ Brigade. In total 23 Companies, 76 Officers, and 727 Boys were on parade.
- The Coronation Review in 1902 (as Prince of Wales) of 12,000 members of The Boys’ Brigade and similar youth organisations. During this Review The Boys’ Brigade mustered 8 Battalions divided into 2 Brigades.
- In 1910 The Prince of Wales became King George V, with the new monarch consenting to continue in his role as Patron.
1936 HM King Edward VIII
The briefest reign of a British monarch in the Twentieth Century, and the shortest time spent in position by a Patron of The Boys’ Brigade. HM King Edward VIII is better remembered for occasions engaged with The Boys’ Brigade in his capacity as the Prince of Wales. These included:
- The inspection of the Glasgow Battalion at Queen’s Park recreation ground in March 1921.
- An inspection of a Guard of Honour provided by the Nottingham Battalion on 29 June 1932.
- A visit to see the 1st Glasgow Company “under working conditions” during the Jubilee of 1933. In a half-hour visit the Prince of Wales saw a display of various activities undertaken by the pioneering Glasgow Company. 
1936 – 1952 King George VI
On his accession to the throne King George VI followed in the footsteps of his father to bestow the honour of Patronage on The Boys’ Brigade. On the coronation of the King, in all parts of the country
where the ‘BB’ was found, Battalions and Companies took part in many forms of celebrating the coronation of the new monarch. Standout events from the years King George VI was Patron included:
- The Youth Festival at Wembley Stadium in 1937, where the new King was presented with a programme of activities delivered by detachments representing 40 organisations of youth. The Boys’ Brigade headed the march past of the 11,000 strong contingent.
- The Royal Review of members of The Boys’ Brigade from London at Windsor Castle in 1943 during the height of the Second World War.
- The Festival Run of 1952 which saw 5 messages carried from all corners of The United Kingdom to reach the King at Buckingham Palace.
1952-2022 Queen Elizabeth II
The most recent Patron of The Boys’ Brigade, and the longest serving, the late Queen was Patron of the ‘BB’ for 70 years. The Queen will be remembered for the high-profile engagements but also as a Patron who cared about the Object, values, and mission of The Boys’ Brigade. There were many special occasions shared between Queen Elizabeth II and The Boys’ Brigade, but some of the best remembered include:
- The visit to Brigade House in 1973 as The Boys’ Brigade celebrated its 90th This was the first time a reigning monarch had visited the headquarters of The Boys’ Brigade.
- The Royal Review in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, where 3,044 Boys and Officers were on parade to mark the centenary of the movement in 1983.
- The Royal Review of 1994 at Windsor Castle, which bore similarities to the Review of 1943. Over 1,000 Boys and Officers combined for this event, where the Queen spoke of the role of The Boys’ Brigade during times of rapid social change.
The Boys’ Brigade has been fortunate to have had four reigning monarchs of the United Kingdom act as Patron. Each of these Patrons had their own special relationship with The Boys’ Brigade and all four created moments that will live long in its history.
 “Dublin Battalion Inspection”, The Boys’ Brigade Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 1, September 1898, p.7.
 “The Coronation Review”, The Boys’ Brigade Gazette, Vol. 11, No.1, September 1902, p.4.
 “His Majesty The King as Patron of The Boys’ Brigade”, The Boys’ Brigade Gazette, Vol. 19, No.1, September 1910, p.2.
 Anon, 50 Years with the B.B., 1883 – 1933. History of Nottingham Battalion, (The Maytree Press, Nottingham, 1933).
Cutting from the Stevenson Memorial Church Magazine, April 1933 in 1st Glasgow Company Scrapbook,1933, The Boys’ Brigade Archives.
 “British Youth Festival”, The Times, Monday, 5 July, 1937, p.11.
 “The Royal Visit to Brigade House,” Stedfast Mag, no. 234, April 1973, pp. 4 -5; p.4.
 “Comment by the Brigade Secretary,” The Boys’ Brigade Gazette, August/ September 1983, Vol. 91, No. 6, p.136
 The Boys’ Brigade Royal Review Commemorative Brochure, 1994.