THE QUEEN Honours 100 Years of Brave Aussie Flyers, as she marks the Royal Australian Air Force centenary with an in-person appearance.
In what was the Queen’s first official royal engagement in five months the 94-year-old monarch made an in-person visit to the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede in Surrey. The visit was to honour 100 years of brave Aussie flyers, and mark the Royal Australian Air Force Centenary.
Although so far this year the Queen has been seen in video calls, this was the first time that she has been out in public since she met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Windsor when they returned to Britain in December. For 2021 though, this is her first in-person official engagement.
The Queen seemed to be in a good mood and joked with one Australian serviceman about the Russians and Typhoon jets. When she quizzed him over the jets ‘being sent off to chase the Russians?’ The serviceman replied that, ‘That’s correct, ma’am, it’s a lot of fun for us!’
The last time the Queen was at the memorial was in 1953 on October 17 when, in the year of her coronation, she opened the memorial. The Queen joked that, ‘It’s a very long time since I’ve been here.’
The Queen was greeted by Claire Horton, director general of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and George Brandis, High Commissioner for Australia when she arrived at Runnymede, and ceremony was started with a Red Arrow flyby.
The brave men and women of the Royal Australian Air Force who have lost their lives in service were recognised and the order of service foreword written by the Queen read, ‘As one of the oldest Air Forces in the world, it is fitting to pay tribute to the efficiency, skill and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in its ranks, in Australia and overseas, during the past one hundred years.’