Queen leads Royal Family at Afghanistan & Iraq memorial

The Queen lead the Royal Family at a service of dedication for a new memorial to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, before she unveiled the stone marker in Victoria Embankment Gardens. Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Anne and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also in attendance at the dedication at Horseguard’s Parade.

The Queen receives flowers as she arrives for the memorial dedication earlier today. Toddler Alfie didn’t seem to want to meet the Monarch (MoD)

The memorial is to honour the service and duty of both the UK Armed Forces and civilians in the Gulf region, Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who supported them back home, from 1990-2015.

The Queen led members of the Royal Family at the service of dedication (moD)

Princess Anne speaking to Princess Anne, while Tony Blair sits behind next to The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester at the service of dedication (Thomas Mace Archer Mills)

In ascending order of seniority, members of the Royal Family began to arrive at the parade ground, along with senior politicians, such as PM Theresa May, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Chancellor Phillip Hammond and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

They were entertained by military bands before the service began.

Prince Harry gives a reading at the Drumhead Service at Horse Guards Parade (MoD)

The service of dedication, from a specially conducted Drumhead, was conducted in front of 2,500 invited guests. Prince Harry gave a reading from the Bible, having served two tours of duty himself.

Following this, Her Majesty officially unveiled the memorial and met a small number of guests.

The Queen unveils the new Afghanistan and Iraq memorial (MoD)

A reception for all those who attended the day’s events was held on Horse Guards Parade afterwards, where Royals were sent into different tents to circulate with as many guests as possible.

The images of the event show just how much the Royal Family are respected by military personnel, and the strong link they have with the Armed Forces. Many are Royal Colonels or Colonel-in-Chief of various regiments, such as The Duchess of Cornwall as Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion the Rifles, and Prince William as Colonel of the Irish Guards.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak to veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq and their families (Thomas Mace Archer Mills)

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