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Military wife Kate pays tribute to nation's heroes

20 DECEMBER 2011

Her brother-in-law has served on the frontline and her own husband faces dangerous conditions as a search and rescue pilot on a stretch of, at times, treacherous coastline.

So the Duchess of Cambridge could empathise with the stories of heroism at the Military Awards, honouring Britain's most courageous.

 

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Accompanied by Princes William and Harry, Kate held back tears at the glittering ceremony, organised by the Sun, in London's Imperial War Museum.

She was particularly moved by the account of Para Scott Meenagh, 22, who has been "living for two" ever since surviving an exploding mine. A friend who shielded him from the blast died.

The royal newlyweds had been invited to present an award to Sergeant Ryan McCready. He was recognised for winning over Afghan locals – thereby keeping the Taliban out of the area.

 

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Among the other VIPs attending were Prime Minister David Cameron, his wife Samantha, David Beckham and Gordon Ramsay.

Becks – with his two boys Romeo and Brooklyn – met Flight Lieutenant Mike Anderson who withstood a mortar attack to rescue six Afghan children. The football legend said of the encounter: "Everyone is proud of the guys who put their lives on the line for their country."

But it was Harry, giving his most mature speech yet, who summed up the spirit of the evening.

"It’s often said of our Armed Forces that they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Well, I don’t entirely buy that.

"Ordinary people don’t brave monsoon conditions dangling on a winch line to rescue 13 people, each in turn.

"For that matter, ordinary people don’t put their lives on the line for distant folk, such as the Afghans, who need our help and are now turning their country round because of it.

He also paid tribute to the families left behind by servicemen.

"The strength and courage it must take to see your husband or your wife, your father or mother, son or daughter, head off into the unknown – and to support them doing it – I can hardly even imagine."

He added: "Like my brother, I share many of the same hopes, the same aspirations to go on operations, and the same fears, as all those who serve our Queen and country.

"By an accident of birth, though, it falls to 564673 Captain Wales humbly to express – on behalf of my comrades-in-arms and people up and down the country – the admiration we feel for the extraordinary men and women we honour here tonight."

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