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The Queen and Prince Philip meet war heroes

Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip honoured 23 recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross at a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 28th October. Her Majesty has been Patron of the Victoria Cross and the George Cross Association since 1957.

Among the guests at the reception on Tuesday was Australian Victoria Cross holder, Keith Payne, who whilst talking with The Queen and Prince Philip, reflected on the current troubles that the world is facing. Mr Payne was awarded the Victoria Cross way back in 1969 for leading soldiers to safety following an attack in Vietnam.

Keith Payne commented on his trip to Buckingham Palace, “I think events like this have become more and more important with the strife that world is in now. They help to strengthen the bond between allies and recognise the great acts of bravery that happen, not just in the Armed Forces but by civilians too. It gives a bit of a morale boost to know there are still Victoria and George Crosses being handed out.”

The occasion at Buckingham Palace was part of a biennial three-day series of Royal events that is honouring Britain and the Commonwealths recipients of the Victoria and George Crosses. On Wednesday 29th October the brave war heroes will meet with Prince Harry.

Other guests at the Buckingham Palace celebration included Australian Afghanistan war Veterans Ben Roberts-Smith, Corporal Daniel Keighran and Corporal Mark Donaldson. Also at the event were the Parents of Cameron Baird, who was award his Victoria Cross posthumously in February 2014, who are taking part in all three of this weeks events.

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration in Britain and the Commonwealth and is awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy”. It was first awarded by Queen Victoria in 1856 for acts of bravery during the Crimean War. The George Cross is second in the order of wear in Britain and the Commonwealth and is the highest gallantry award for civilians as well as for members of the Armed Forces. The George Cross was first awarded by King George VI in September 1940 at the height of the Blitz after there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage.

The war heroes previously met with Prince Charles on Monday for afternoon tea at St James’ Palace.

Featured Photo Credit: Northern Ireland Office/ MTHurson/Harrions

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