Hero Captain Sir Tom Moore has been knighted by the Queen in a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle today.
The 100-year-old became a national hero during Britain’s time of crisis by raising millions of pounds for health workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
And in a fitting tribute, he officially became Sir Tom when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth just after 3pm, capping off an extraordinary year for the World War Two veteran.
Pictures coming out this afternoon show the The Queen using a sword that belonged to her father, George VI, and placing it on Sir Tom’s shoulder in the private ceremony.
In beautiful sunshine, she presented him with the insignia of Knight Bachelor, as pictures show her smiling and laughing as she meets Sir Tom and his family.
Speaking to Sir Tom, the Queen said: “Thank you so much. An amazing amount of money you raised.”
Sir Tom’s family then gathered around for a chat with the Monarch, who said: “A hundred is a great age.”
She added: “Anyway it’s a nice day. Best of luck to you.”
Staged in the open air, in the imposing setting of Windsor Castle’s quadrangle, the ceremony saw the former Army officer joined by those closest to him.
The head of state’s arrival into the quadrangle was signalled by the sound of bagpipes played by the Queen’s Piper, Pipe Major Richard Grisdale, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The monarch was joined in the quadrangle by the Master of the Household, retired Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, who carried the insignia of Knight Bachelor, while one of the Queen’s Pages was entrusted with King George VI’s sword.
Waiting was Sir Tom and his family – daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, son-in-law Colin Ingram, grandson Benjie and granddaughter Georgia.
With her father’s sword in her hand, she lightly touched him first on his right shoulder then his left with the blade – dubbing him a knight.
Other investitures had been postponed because of the coronavirus and today was one of the first official duties the queen has carried out since the coronavirus lockdown.
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The 94-year-old Queen has been shielding at Windsor, her famous Berkshire home, for much of the lockdown with the Duke of Edinburgh, and today was her first face-to-face royal engagement with a member of the public since March – albeit with social distancing.
The Queen was seen in public for the first time since lockdown on June 13 when she attended a stripped back Trooping the Colour.
The Queen did leave Windsor Castle today for her granddaughter Princess Beatrice’s secret wedding.
Beatrice, who is ninth in line to the throne, married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in secret after their original wedding had to be cancelled due to the lockdown.
The Queen, and Prince Philip, were among a small group of close family and friends who attended the intimate ceremony at All Saints Chapel, Windsor Great Park, this morning.
The couple were driven from Windsor Castle, where they have spent lockdown, but the Queen left at 11.45am so she could make it in time to honour Sir Tom.
The royal couple were seen leaving the ceremony just 45 minutes after it began, smiling as they drove back to the Castle.
And that’s not the only nod to Captain Tom, and Beatrice and Edo have decided not to release an official wedding photo today as they don’t want to take the spotlight off the fundraising hero.
“I could never have imagined this would happen to me,” Moore said in a message posted on Twitter.
“It is such a huge honour and I am very much looking forward to meeting Her Majesty The Queen. It is going to be the most special of days for me.”
Captain Tom and his family travelled to Windsor for the special, personal service this afternoon.
Royal investitures were put on hold during the pandemic, and those scheduled to take place at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in June and July were postponed.
The ceremony took place entirely within the confines of Windsor Castle, with no viewing positions for the public.
Members of the public were asked not to attend Windsor town centre or gather in the hope of seeing any of the ceremony, which was not visible from any external viewpoint.
Sir Tom raised a record sum of £33million by walking 100 laps of his garden with the aid of a walking frame in April, in the run-up to his landmark birthday.
His endeavour touched the hearts of Brits everywhere and inspired people across the globe as they faced the biggest public crisis since the war in which Sir Tom fought so bravely.
The public outpouring of love and pride prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson nominate Sir Tom for the award.
Sir Tom, who has been made an honorary colonel and an honorary member of the England cricket team, has received the ancient accolade at Windsor Castle, where the 94-year-old monarch has been sheltering since March.
Captain Tom had set out to raise £1,000, but his incredible gesture won him fans around the world and saw his fundraising efforts soar.
In honour of his incredible achievement, he was given a flypast on his 100th birthday.
Captain Tom also became the oldest person to ever score a UK Number One single with his rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, recorded with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices Of Care Choir.
And his incredible efforts saw him awarded a special Pride Of Britain award.
Captain Tom said the response to his charitable efforts had been “outstanding”.
He said: “It’s hard to describe there’s been so much kindness shown and so many people making kind remarks.
“It really is outstanding, I never anticipated in my life anything like this. It really is amazing.
“I really must say to everyone thank you very much to everyone wherever you are.”
Showing self-depreciating humour, the Yorkshireman become a symbol of British endurance in the face of the adversity of the coronavirus crisis.
Moore, who served in India, Burma and Sumatra during World War Two, quipped earlier this year that having a knighthood would be funny because he would be Sir Thomas Moore – a reference to the Tudor statesman Sir Thomas More.