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Kate Middleton shares family photo of her grandmother to mark special anniversary

The Duchess of Cambridge joined forces with the Queen and Prince Charles to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British Red Cross

kate middleton red cross
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Duchess of Cambridge shared a personal family photo as she joined forces with the Queen, the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British Red Cross on Tuesday 4 August.

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WATCH: Prince Charles pays tribute to the British Red Cross on 150th anniversary 

The image released by the Middleton family shows Kate's grandmother Valerie Middleton, who served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross in the Second World. The photo shows Valerie standing in the centre, wearing her nurses' uniform, alongside her colleagues.

The Duchess paid tribute to her own family ties to the Red Cross in a letter to thank 150 outstanding Red Cross staff and volunteers, nominated by the charity for their contributions. She wrote: "I wish to send you many congratulations on being awarded this commemorative coin, created by the Royal Mint, to mark the 150th Anniversary of the British Red Cross. Your colleagues nominated you because of your hard work with the British Red Cross and because of the way in which you carry out your work: helping those who need it most and putting people first. 

valerie middleton red cross© The Middleton family

Kate's grandmother Valerie Middleton (centre) 

"On this anniversary, I would like to thank and remember the many thousands of staff and volunteers who over the years have contributed tirelessly to the organisation’s work, including my great-grandmother, Olive and my grandmother, Valerie who both served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross. Olive during the First World War and Valerie during the Second World War.

"Like you and many others, they are both part of the rich history of the British Red Cross, which is helping to ensure many people get the support they need during a crisis. In recent months, I have been deeply moved by the work you and your colleagues have continued to do throughout the coronavirus pandemic. You have all been doing an inspiring job supporting vulnerable people. 

"I hope this coin serves as a token to remind you of the importance of the role you play in sustaining this incredible organisation."

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princess elizabeth hospital© British Red Cross Museum and Archives

Princess Elizabeth visiting a Red Cross hut in 1951

Meanwhile, the Queen, who has been patron of the British Red Cross for over six decades, sent a message of congratulations to the charity on its milestone anniversary. Her Majesty, 94, wrote: "As patron of the British Red Cross I send my warmest congratulations to the staff and volunteers of the Society on the occasion of its one hundred andfiftieth anniversary. 

"Whether those involved in the Society are assisting people to return home from hospital safely, offering care and support in the aftermath of a disaster, volunteering in a shop, administering first aid or some of the many other activities the British Red Cross encompasses, their contribution is recognised, valued and greatly appreciated. I send my heartfelt thanks and warmest good wishes to you all."

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red cross volunteer anne© British Red Cross

Red Cross volunteer Anne Taylor spoke to Princess Alexandra 

The Prince of Wales, President of the British Red Cross, has also recorded a special introduction to the charity's new online exhibition. Prince Charles, 71, praised the dedication of the charity’s volunteers and highlighted how the royal family has played its own part in supporting the charity, dating back to 1870 when Queen Victoria became the first Patron.

Last week, Princess Alexandra, Deputy President, spoke to a recipient of the Duchess of Cambridge's letter, Anne Taylor, 87, to hear about her experiences as one of the charity’s longest-serving volunteers. Anne has volunteered with the charity for 80 years, having first joined in 1940 to support the charity’s work during the Second World War.

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