Queen thanks armed forces and veterans saying she knows 'only too well' the pride they feel

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales attend the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday June 28, 2012. The memorial remembers the sacrifice and bravery of the 55,573 RAF crew who lost their lives in the Second World War. See PA story MEMORIAL Veterans. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales at the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London. (PA Wire)

The Queen has spoken of the pride felt by those who serve in the UK Armed Forces as she thanks military personnel past and present on Armed Forces day.

She said having so many family members who have served in some way means she knows “only too well” of the pride felt by those in service.

The message from the Queen, who is the Commander-in-Chief, came as the Duchess of Cornwall was given a new vice-patronage of a soldiers’ charity which will see her work alongside her mother-in-law.

The full message from the Queen said: “The Duke of Edinburgh and I join many around the United Kingdom in celebrating Armed Forces Day, and the efforts of our military both at home and overseas.

“Today provides an opportunity for thanks, and a recognition of the dedication and risks faced by those serving our nation. We also have cause to thank veterans, who continue to contribute to our way of life, long after they leave the Armed Forces.

“Having had members of my family serve in each of the Armed Services, I know only too well of the pride Service personnel take in their duty. As your Commander-in-Chief, I send my warmest best wishes to you all, your families, and the entire Armed Forces community.”

The Queen herself served during the Second World War, as part of the Women’s Auxilliary Territorial Service.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II inspects the Guard of Honour as she arrives for a visit of the Royal Navy's HMS Ocean at Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth, south west England, on March 20, 2015. HMS Ocean is an amphibious assault ship and helicopter carrier. AFP PHOTO / POOL / GEOFF CADDICK
The Queen inspects the Guard of Honour before a visit of the Royal Navy's HMS Ocean. (Getty Images)

Her grandson Prince Harry served in the army in Afghanistan, and his brother Prince William trained at Sandhurst, and went onto be a pilot in the RAF.

Her son Andrew also saw war action in the Falklands. Charles ranked as a commander and a flight lieutenant, but Edward, the youngest brother, withdrew from his training.

Philip, her husband, gave up his burgeoning military career when she became Queen.

The Duchess of Cornwall has marked Armed Forces Day by taking on a new vice-patronage, with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The Queen has been patron since 1953 and will remain in this position.

It sees Camilla add another military patronage to her collection, as she is already Patron of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory and the War Memorials Trust.

Camilla said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those in the Armed Forces, who steadfastly serve our country. I am therefore delighted to become Vice Patron of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, an organisation of which Her Majesty is Patron, which does such wonderful work to support soldiers, veterans and their immediate families.”

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Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (L) and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) watch from a balcony as they attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 10, 2019. - Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Camilla will become a vice-patron of the Soldiers' Charity. (Getty Images)

Major General (Ret’d) Martin Rutledge, Chief Executive, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, added: “ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is most grateful and delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has become its Vice-Patron.

“The Army Benevolent Fund, as we were known originally, was formed in 1944 to support those returning from combat in the Second World War. Our name may have changed, but our purpose has not: we exist to ensure that soldiers, veterans and their families can live a life of independence and dignity.

“We are honoured that The Duchess of Cornwall has chosen to support ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the work we do to ensure the wellbeing of the British Army family; and we look forward to working with Her Royal Highness in years to come.”