National hero Captain Sir Tom Moore has today been knighted by the Queen in an unprecedented personal ceremony in recognition of his £33 million fundraising effort for the NHS.
The Second World War veteran’s extraordinary year was capped as Her Majesty dubbed him a knight with her father’s sword.
Staged in the imposing setting of Windsor Castle’s quadrangle, the ceremony saw the 100-year-old former Army officer joined by his family.
The Queen has been shielding at her Berkshire home for much of the lockdown with the Duke of Edinburgh, and the event was her first face-to-face royal engagement with a member of the public since March.
Her Majesty left her granddaughter Prince Beatrice’s wedding to stage the rare outdoor investiture this afternoon, with her arrival announced by the sound of bagpipes played by the Queen’s Piper, Pipe Major Richard Grisdale, of The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Just hours earlier the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and other close family attended the unannounced wedding of their granddaughter Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a nearby chapel.
Her Majesty beamed as she bestowed the honour upon the 100-year-old veteran
The Queen, 94, chatted animatedly with Sir Tom and his family at the unprecedented personal ceremony held at Windsor Castle
Captain Sir Tom Moore was knighted by the Queen in recognition of his outstanding achievement raising almost £33 million for the NHS
Sir Tom was joined by his family for the ceremony, which comes after he was dubbed the nation’s hero for his fundraising efforts
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Segrave welcomed Sir Tom into the quadrangle while they waited for the Monarch
The 100-year-old Second World War veteran earned himself a knighthood after raising £33 million for health service charities
Cptn Tom Moore, with (left to right) grandson Benji, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and granddaughter Georgia, at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire
A post on Captain Sir Tom Moore’s official Twitter account this morning shared a picture of him wearing his campaign medals ahead of the ceremony
Captain Moore is pictured front centre during his days in the Army. He joined the Armed Forces in 1940 when he was aged 20
Zimmer of hope for the world: How WWII hero become a beacon of light in the planet’s darkest days
Captain Tom’s story has been a rare piece of good news in a world full of fear at the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives globally.
People from 53 different countries donated millions to Captain Tom Moore’s fundraiser for the NHS – with the total continuing to rise even after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden.
The Second World War veteran completed his target of laps at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, on April 16 – a fornight before his 100th birthday on April 30.
Captain Moore’s story was picked up by newspapers and TV networks around the world, from The Times of Israel to The Phuket News in Thailand.
Captain Moore raised more than £31million on his JustGiving page, despite having an initial target of £1,000 when he began fundraising.
The fundraising campaign was launched on April 9, and soon hit its initial target within the first 24 hours.
The family of the fundraising hero described the Queen’s decision to give him his knighthood in a unique private ceremony as ‘the icing on the cake’ of his achievements.
The 100-year-old Second World War veteran earned himself a knighthood after raising £33 million for health service charities.
Sir Tom won the hearts of the nation and the donations came flooding in after he set out on his challenge to walk 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday earlier this year.
While other investitures due to be held at Buckingham Palace in London and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in June and July were postponed, a special exception was made for Sir Tom.
The Prime Minister previously called Sir Tom a ‘point of light in our lives’ as he thanked him for pulling the nation together through the coronavirus pandemic.
A post on Captain Sir Tom Moore’s official Twitter account this morning shared a picture of him wearing his campaign medals ahead of the ceremony.
It read: ‘Good Morning! Ready and raring to go for what is a very special day. Thank you for all the well wishes, as ever, overwhelmed by your support. £todaywillbeagoodday’
His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said the investiture was the ‘icing on the cake’ of her father’s amazing year.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast ahead of the ceremony, she said: ‘We will take a leisurely pace down to Windsor – no rushing today and no falling, no tripping, and we have a fairly regimented day ahead of us.’
She added: ‘Protocol is being written as we speak and we will simply be doing as we are told.’
Sir Tom’s grandson Benjie said: ‘I just want to say thank you to absolutely everybody who has supported us.
‘We would not be in this situation without everyone on the other side of the camera, so, from our family, thank you for putting us in this situation.’
His granddaughter Georgia added: ‘We are so proud of him and I’m so excited for this day.’
Ahead of the ceremony, Sir Tom said on his official Twitter account: ‘It is going to be the most special of days for me.’
Buckingham Palace believes it is the first time the ‘unique’ format of his ceremony will have taken place, amid the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and Downing Street’s announcement of Sir Tom’s individual knighthood.
Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter described the Queen’s decision to give Sir Tom his knighthood in an individual ceremony as ‘very significant’.
He added: ‘The Queen has always said she ‘needs to be seen to be believed’ so today she will be seen – the last time we actually saw her physically was in June in the alternative Trooping the Colour at Windsor Castle.
‘To actually see the Queen in person – this is a step in the right direction, a step hopefully back to new normality, but it will be a very slow step.’
The Queen used the sword that belonged to her father, King George VI, and will present Sir Tom with the insignia of Knight Bachelor.
Buckingham Palace said the investiture followed strict social distancing rules.
His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said the investiture was the ‘icing on the cake’ of her father’s amazing year
From Yorkshire to India: Colonel Tom Moore’s career in the military
Colonel Tom pictured during the Second World War. Boris Johnson described him as a national treasure during the Covid-19 crisis after raising almost £33million for the NHS
Captain Tom Moore was conscripted into the British Army in June 1940 when he was 20, alongside all men aged 20 to 35.
He began his military career in Otley, West Yorkshire, where he joined the 8th Battalion, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment under Lieutenant Lord George Saville.
The Regiment was sent to train in Wadebridge, Cornwall where they were tasked with coastal defence amid a predicted German invasion.
A young Captain Moore was soon promoted to Corporal and sent to the officer cadet training unit in Droitwich Spa.
Here, he celebrated his 21st birthday after he passed as a Second Lieutenant.
In August 1941, he was sent to the DWR headquarters in Halifax where he joined the 9th Battalion at Winchcombe.
The infantry battalion then converted to an armoured regiment 146th Royal Armoured Corp, though the majority of the soldiers could not drive.
In October, the unit was posted to Bombay, now Mumbai, in India. The journey took six weeks by sea, with a four-day delay in Freetown, Sierra Leone and a four-day stop in Cape Town.
Captain Moore then took a train from Bombay to Poona, before arriving at Kirkee, a town now known as Khadki.
The 9th DWR formed the 50th Indian Tank Brigade under the command of Brigadier Schreiber.
Captain Moore was then asked by the Brigadier to start a motorcycling course for the Brigade due to his expertise for the sport.
The Brigade was then ordered to move to Calcutta – the road journey was in a monsoon and took three weeks.
His Battalion was stationed in the Lohardaga district near Ranchi.
They then took part in two exercises in the Arakan before moving further east and south to Rangoon.
Captain Moore was then sent on a course at the approved vehicle depot in Bovington, England.
He remained here as an instructor until it was closed.