THE ROYALS CELEBRATE ARMED FORCES DAY IN THE U.K.
The third annual Armed Forces in the U.K., established to honor the armed forces, was celebrated by members of the royal family. In Edinburgh, thousands of spectators cheered as 2,500 veterans, servicemen and women and cadets marched along the city’s famed Royal Mile. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as Duke and Duchess of Rothesay were present.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid tribute to the sacrifice, achievements and courage of the United Kingdom’s servicemen and women in a ceremony held at the Victoria Barracks, Windsor. Prince William, as honorary colonel of the Irish Guards, spoke of being “humbled at the thought of the sacrifices” of the soldiers and of their families as well as losses that they have “suffered – all in the service of our country.” He admitted to following their tour of duty in Afghanistan with a “mounting sense of awe.”
In a private ceremony, the Duke of Cambridge presented the families of fallen servicemen with the Elizabeth Cross. The Elizabeth Cross was instituted in 2009 (though retrospective to deaths from the time of the end of World War II) and is given to the next of kin of members of the British Armed Forces who have been killed in action or as a result of a terrorist attack after the Second World War.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also awarded campaign medals to two servicemen who sustained loss of limbs during their Afghan tour of duty. This is the first military role undertaken by Catherine as a member of the royal family. She was suitably attired in a somber military style coat dress. She also wore a gold shamrock brooch, the shamrock being the Irish Guards’ emblem.