Royal News

The Queen attends first public engagement of 2021 at Runnymede

Her Majesty The Queen was in Runnymede on Wednesday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force. The engagement in Surrey is Her Majesty’s first engagement of 2021 and her first since November 2020 when she visited the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of the unknown soldier’s burial.

The centenary event is being held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede and is an open-air service to honour Australia’s airmen and women.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Defence Department of Australia shared a tweet showing a mass flypast over Canberra to mark the Air Force’s 100th anniversary. The flypast showcased a range of current and historic aircraft.

Arriving at Runnymede, Her Majesty The Queen was greeted by Claire Horton, Director General of the CWGC, and George Brandis, High Commissioner for Australia. During the service, The Queen’s equerry, Major Tom White, laid a wreath on her behalf and after the service Her Majesty met with members of the RAAF and viewed panels bearing the names of Australian war dead.

Since its formation in 1921, more than 350,000 men and women have served in the Royal Australian Air Force and have fought in various conflicts including the Second World War, the Vietnam war as well as the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 11,000 RAAF personnel have lost their lives.

The Duke of Cambridge will also mark the centenary of the RAAF by recording a special video message which will be played at a centenary dinner being held in the Australian capital, Canberra.

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