Queen awards UK health service on its 73rd anniversary

Queen Elizabeth II has awarded the U.K.’s highest civilian award for gallantry to the National Health Service, offering a handwritten message of thanks to the organization and its workers on its 73rd anniversary

Via AP news wire
Monday 05 July 2021 11:16
Britain Royals
Britain Royals

Queen Elizabeth II has awarded the U.K.’s highest civilian award for gallantry to the National Health Service offering a handwritten message of thanks to the public organization and its workers on its 73rd anniversary.

In a message written on Windsor Castle stationery, the monarch said it gave her great pleasure to give the award from a grateful nation. NHS staff have been lauded throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for working tirelessly to save lives and vaccinate the public amid an outbreak that has killed more than 128,000 people, the most in Europe.

“Over more than seven decades, and especially in recent times, you have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service,’’ the queen wrote. “You have our enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation.”

The award came as Britain prepared for a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to commemorate the public healthcare service's founding and honor workers on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. Among those taking part are the doctor who treated the U.K.’s first known victims of the virus, the nurse who delivered the first dose of vaccine and vaccine scientist Sarah Gilbert who designed the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Duchess of Cambridge was forced to cancel plans to attend because she is self-isolating after coming in close contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19. Prince William the Duchess’s husband, contracted the disease last spring.

“Her Royal Highness is not experiencing any symptoms, but is following all relevant government guidelines and is self-isolating at home,” Kensington Palace said in a statement Monday.

The George Cross was created by the queen’s father, King George VI, at the height of the Blitz in 1940 to honor “acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger.”

This is only the third time the George Cross has been awarded to a collective entity. Malta was honored in 1942 for the fortitude displayed by its citizens when the island was besieged by Nazi forces. The Royal Ulster Constabulary received the award in 1999 for the bravery of its officers and their families during the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland that killed more than 3,000 people over three decades.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in