The Queen has sent a message to the Royal Air Force which was formed 100 years ago today.
In her message, Her Majesty paid tribute to those who have served in the RAF over the past century and those who have defended our freedom.
The 91-year-old monarch says: “On this, the centenary of its formation, I send my heartfelt congratulations to the Royal Air Force at home and overseas, and to all of its families and loved ones.
“The anniversary of the world’s first independent Air Force is of great significance, and it is fitting to pay tribute to the tenacity, skill and sacrifice of the men and women who have served within its ranks over the last century, and who have defended our freedom so gallantly. Through its enduring focus on professionalism, excellence and innovation, the Royal Air Force stands as a shining example of inspiration around the World today and for the next generations.
“May the glory and honour that all ranks have bestowed on the Royal Air Force light its pathway to the future, guarding our skies and reaching for the stars.”
She signs off the message with the words ‘Per Ardua ad Astra’ which is Latin for ‘Through Adversity to the Stars’ – the RAF’s motto.
The Royal Family has strong connections to the RAF. The Queen’s grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry are Honorary Air Commandants as are many other royals including the Earl of Wessex, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex.
The RAF is the world’s first independent Air Force and was formed on April 1sr 1918.