The Duchess of Cornwall has praised the efforts of a leading infantry battalion as she was left admiring the moustache of a young soldier.

Corporal Jack Stock of the 4th Battalion, The Rifles looked like a serviceman from 1918 rather than 2018 with his manicured face hair and well groomed locks.

And when Camilla, Royal Colonel of 4 Rifles, spotted him during a reception staged at the battalion’s headquarters, she told the soldier “I very much admire your moustache”.

In a speech to mark her visit she said after presenting medals to some of the unit: “You pride yourself as natural innovators, always at the forefront of change, as the British Army modernises and adapts to a multitude of fresh challenges.

Duchess of Cornwall visits New Normandy BarracksThe Duchess of Cornwall at the New Normandy Barracks, Aldershot (Chris Jackson/PA)

“I can think, though of course I’m biased, of no better battalion to be leading this exciting new role.

“Your skills and expertise are clearly in great demand, with training teams deployed to the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Kenya, Central America and the Caribbean in recent months, with no doubt more to follow.”

Speaking on the parade ground at Aldershot, Hampshire, she added: “So I never cease to be amazed by how much work you are able to fit into your precious time and, I’m reliably informed, produce your brilliant shooting team which hopefully, will continue on its path to glory and go one better at Bisley next year.”

The unit has moved away from its traditional infantry role and now trains, advises and mentors soldiers of overseas partners and has responsibility for the Middle East and North Africa.

Duchess of Cornwall visits New Normandy BarracksCamilla at he start of her visit (Chris Jackson/PA)

It now comprises mainly officers and NCOs with the experience needed to perform the new role, with Riflemen drawn from across the other battalions of The Rifles,

Cpl Stock said after speaking to the duchess: “It’s great to have here, she’s really proud to be our Royal Colonel and loves to come here, and makes the time to visit.”

Commenting on his moustache he added: “One day I was on exercise and I grew a beard and I later shaved it off apart from the tache.

“I enjoyed having the tache, but I shaved it off and regretted it instantly and it’s come back again.”