The Queen showed an unusual display of emotion today, as she dedicated a new memorial for The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Her Majesty – who was not joined by Prince Philip for the event – laid a wreath at the foot of the new memorial, which is dedicated to the fallen of the regiment of The Duke of Lancaster: The Queen herself.
She unveiled the memorial to honour the 32 personnel of the unit who have died in service since the regiment’s formation in 2006.
The wreath’s message read: “In memory of the glorious dead. Elizabeth R.”
As the Last Post played and the minute’s silence ensued, Her Majesty was seen to shed a tear, before wiping it away and closing her eyes for a few moments to compose herself once more.
There have been less than a handful of occasions on which The Queen has publicly cried, including Remembrance Sunday after the death of her sister and mother in 2002, and the decommissioning of Royal Yacht Britannia in 1997.
The heraldic bronze lion faces north-west, up towards to Royal Duchy of Lancaster and sits on a plinth of Cumbrian stone.
Elizabeth is Colonel-in-Chief of the Lancastrian troops, which were formed following the amalgamation of the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, the King’s Regiment, and The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.
Georgie Welch, who created the bronze lion, explained her work having spoken to Her Majesty at the ceremony: “It was five-and-a-half months in the making in clay before it went to the foundry.
“The Queen said it was very lifelike and that it had a real look of power. She also said it looked fearless. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop my knees shaking, but The Queen was absolutely charming.”
The stonemason, Nick Johnson, said there was ‘no higher honour than meeting The Queen’.
At a short reception following the dedication, Her Majesty met with military personnel and their families. One former soldier at the event, Luke Reeson, had just competed in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, winning gold for the UK in swimming.