The Queen honours recipients of Victoria and George Cross

Her Majesty The Queen held a reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday afternoon to honour the recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross. Accompanied by The Duke of York and Princess Eugenie, Her Majesty welcomed 24 VC and GC holders to the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

Also in attendance at the reception were The Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Among those in attendance were Johnson Beharry – who received the Victoria Cross for two separate lifesaving acts while on tour in Iraq – and Jim Beaton, who was awarded the George Cross after helping to foil a gunman’s kidnap attempt on Princess Anne back in 1974 and shot three times in his attempts to protect The Queen’s daughter.

 

During the reception, Her Majesty was presented with the book, ‘On Courage’, which is signed by many VC and GC recipients and chronicles their heroic stories.

Upon receiving the gift, Her Majesty exclaimed, “That’s very grand, all of you’ve signed it? Splendid thank you very much – a good read I’m sure.”

The book also has a foreword for every entry from a famous admirer ranging from Eddie Redmayne to Sir Bobby Charlton.

Another recipient who was present at the reception was George Cross holder, Dominic Troulan, a former Major who helped to save around 200 people during a deadly Kenyan terrorist attack in 2013. He was the first UK civilian to receive the George Cross in nearly 40 years when Her Majesty awarded him the accolade last year. After his meeting with The Queen, Troulan commented, “The one denominator among everyone else is the humility and how it’s a family – which I’ve just realised as it’s my first time. It’s definitely a family of people, of all age groups, all different military and civilian arms and different actions to get what’s been bestowed upon them, I find that quite humbling – it’s great to see all these guys.”

The Victoria Cross is the highest award of the United Kingdom honours system and was introduced by Queen Victoria in January 1856 to honour acts of bravery during the Crimean War.

The George Cross is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system and was introduced by King George VI in September 1940 at the height of the Blitz, as a way of honouring acts of civilian courage and bravery.

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