Prince Charles has released a special Christmas message for those currently serving in the Armed Forces.
A video message released on Forces TV shows The Prince of Wales thanking those who serve their Queen and Country.
The Prince sits next to a table holding photographs of his two sons, William and Harry, in their military uniforms, as he speaks of the Army, RAF and Navy’s role in humanitarian work across the world, as well as at home.
Charles holds a number of military appointments, including Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, having served in the Navy, taking charge of HMS Bronington in the last year of service.
Speaking of the ‘grim’ headlines which make the news, Charles recognised the ‘vital importance’ of armed forces and the ‘essential role’ the British forces play in today’s society.
Praising the ‘unique kind of professionalism, cultural understanding and sensitivity’ of the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces, The Prince of Wales thanked those in service for their ‘extraordinary work, emphasising human values’.
He also thanked the forces families for the ‘loyalty and constant support [which] are such a crucial part of the remarkable selflessness of the whole military family’; this enables those who serve their country to continue to do so.
Prince Harry served two tours of Afghanistan, the first incognito due to security fears, and the second as an Apache helicopter pilot.
Almost 23,000 UK military personnel will be stationed or deployed abroad over Christmas, including more than 3,000 on operations. Of those, 870 are involved in the campaign to counter the terrorist group I.S. and 200 are carrying out training in Iraq.
Just this month, HMS Defender and its 180-strong crew joined the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Indian Ocean to support operations against Islamic State. Elsewhere, there are almost 14,000 troops across Europe, including just over 3,000 in Cyprus, 1,170 across North Africa and the Middle East and about 1,000 in the Falklands.
“I can only wish you all the happiest possible Christmas and send you a sincere and heartfelt thank you for your continued Service and personal sacrifice,” said Charles. “I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that this is hugely valued and appreciated.”
Watch the message here