The Queen took immediate action to ensure that one of her loyal footmen, David Grimson, was awarded with his long-service medals after learning that he had not long left to live. David, 48, had worked at Buckingham Palace for 20 years, but after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer believed he might never live to receive the Royal Victoria Medal and the Long and Faithful Service Medal.
However, when the Queen was told that David, who had contracted pneumonia, was close to death at London's Royal Brompton Hospital, she ordered that the medals by issued "with immediate effect", the Daily Express reports. Upon hearing the news, David opened his eyes, smiled and gave a thumbs-up. He passed away three minutes later.
The Queen ordered that David Grimson receive his medals "with immediate effect"
The Queen's most senior aide, Master of the Household Tony Johnstone-Burt, described David's last moments at his memorial service.
"In his eulogy, the Master revealed how he had planned to deliver the medals personally to David the next day," a Palace source told the newspaper. "But because David seemed so frail, his doctor decided to tell him so he knew how keen Her Majesty was to present him with the medals."
Vice-Admiral Johnstone-Burt then told the congregation: "Opening his eyes and smiling broadly, David put his arm up and gave a huge thumbs-up. He then passed away three minutes later.
"It's almost as if, having been given his award, Her Majesty had given him permission to step down from his post, his duty after 20 years having been done to the very, very best of his ability," he said of David, described as "as permanent a fixture as the marble pillars at Buckingham Palace".
David Grimson had worked at Buckingham Palace for 20 years
A source confirmed that the Queen's gesture had been "the talk of the Palace". "She is a very caring and warm person, and takes an interest in all her staff," the insider said of the monarch, who inspires great devotion amongst her staff.
"She believes in rewarding loyalty and she would have been very upset that David died at such a young age. Her gesture has been the talk of the Palace. David was very ill but he died a happy man."