Members of the Royal family were out in full force to celebrate the Royal Air Force’s 100th Anniversary.
As you may already know, the Royals have always had a long-standing commitment to the RAF, with four generations of the family having served or trained with the RAF. In addition, many more hold honorary ranks and patronages with RAF charities and associations.
As part of the celebration, Queen Elizabeth gave a touching speech to mark the Royal Air Force’s 100th Anniversary. At the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, the 92-year-old paid tribute to her father and his experience with the force.
“Chief of the Air Staff, today is a very special day. Presenting the Royal Air Force with a New Queen’s Colour provides an opportunity to congratulate the Service for your remarkable contribution to Defence over the last hundred years,” she began.
The Queen explained that she remembered the Battle of Britain being fought in the skies and that she would “never forget” the courage and sacrifice of that time. She then talked about her father’s experience.
“In 1918, my father, King George VI, served alongside one of the Service’s founders, Lord Trenchard, before becoming the first of my family to qualify as a Royal Air Force pilot,” she noted. “That family tradition continues to this day: The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge have all earned their Wings, and wear them with great pride.
“The Royal Air Force has won a place in the heart of our Nation, and I wish All Ranks, past and present, together with your families, every good fortune for your second century of service. Per Ardua Ad Astra.”
The Queen’s speech wasn’t the only event to celebrate the Centenary, with a service at Westminster Abbey kicking off the day and remembering all the RAF achievements over the past 100 years.
She also presented a new flag to the RAF Regiment shortly before giving her speech.
Senior members of the Royal family then moved to the balcony at Buckinham Palace to view a flypast of the largest concentration of military aircraft in the skies of London. Other members of the family including the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, and Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended a reception at Buckingham Palace where they mingled with RAF veterans, serving personnel and their families.
Meanwhile, social media pages for the Royal family shared an array of vintage photographs celebrating the family contributing to the RAF throughout its 100 years.
Members of the Royal Family have long served in the @royalairforce
Here in 1935, King George V, Edward, Prince of Wales [later King Edward VIII] and Albert, Duke of York [later King George VI] had an official photograph taken in their RAF uniforms. #RAF100 pic.twitter.com/pzUwVIVwxr
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) July 10, 2018