The Queen put on a joyous display as she presented NHS representatives with the George Cross during an audience at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.
Her Majesty was accompanied by The Prince of Wales as she presented the prestigious awards in the white drawing room. Opting for a chic cream dress adorned with purple flowers, the 96-year-old monarch dazzled ceremony attendees. She finished off her outfit with a pair of black leather heels and her trademark pearls.
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Despite ongoing mobility issues, the Queen was photographed without her walking aid.
In a heartfelt statement, the Queen said: "It is with great pleasure, on behalf of a grateful nation, that I award the George Cross to the National Health Services of the United Kingdom.
"This award recognises all NHS staff, past and present, across all disciplines and all four nations. 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. You have our enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation."
The 96-year-old opted for a cream and lilac dress
The Chief Executives of the National Health Services of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, were accompanied by a front-line worker from each of the Home Nations. The Queen bestowed the awards before meeting representatives from each nation.
The George Cross was introduced by King George VI on 24th September 1940, during the height of the Blitz. The outstanding award recognises 'acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger'. Significantly, the award acknowledges actions by civilians and military personnel not in the face of the enemy.
Recipients of the George Cross are determined by advice given to the Queen via the George Cross Committee and the Prime Minister.
Her Majesty was joined by the Prince of Wales
NHS nurse May Parsons joined NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, as the health service was awarded the George Cross. May famously made headlines when she delivered the world's first-ever COVID-19 vaccination.
Hailing from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, May boldly administered the first vaccine outside of clinical trials to Maggie Keenan on 8 December 2020.
Speaking of her achievement, May said: "I am humbled and honoured to be representing the NHS with Amanda when we are awarded the George Cross – it takes hundreds of thousands of us to make the NHS what it is today and I am so grateful to be part of and attending this prestigious event on behalf of such a wonderful team of people – from nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants to many, many others."
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