The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a service for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square today. Prince Charles, who is President of the association also met with members and their guests at a tea party at St James Palace.
The service was attended by 20 recipients of the Victoria Cross or the George Cross, alongside the widows and families of those who have posthumously received the honours. Charles sported ten of his medals which commemorate both his mother’s record-breaking reign and personal military service.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was also present at the service, which included prayers for world peace, Queen, Country and Commonwealth.
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour ‘in the face of the enemy’ to members of the military. The George Cross is its civilian equivalent. The solemn service is held every two years by the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.
Present at the service was Major Dominic Troulan, 55, who was awarded the George Cross in 2017 for repeatedly risking his own life to save around 200 people during a terrorist attack in Kenya.
Major Troulan served for two decades in the special forces, and returned a dozen times to the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi to search for survivors after the 2013 attack.
Mr Troulan described today’s event as an “out of body experience, humbling and fascinating!”
He said: “Nobody talks about their actions but there is a camaraderie that I can see. They are great friends. I am very proud to be here and have been welcomed along with my family.”
“This medal is not just about me, it is about lots of other people.”
Also invited was Johnson Beharry, who in 2005 became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross since 1965. The private, from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, was awarded the highest honour for two separate acts of outstanding gallantry to rescue his comrades in Iraq in 2004. He suffered serious head injuries as a result.
After the service, the heir to the throne hosted a tea party at St James’ Palace for members of the association, of which he has been president since 2003. The guests included veterans and their families, who all posed for a group portrait which they will each receive as a keepsake.