The Queen and Prince Philip today officially re-opened the refurbished National Army Museum in Chelsea, London, the same day she signed the historic Brexit Bill, meaning the UK’s exit from the European Union could begin.
The Royals arrived and were met outside of the museum by The Queen’s cousin, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. The Duke had recently been off royal duties with a chest infection, but looked well today.
Her Majesty, Philip and Edward were taken on a tour around the refurbished museum, which was established in 1960 by Royal Charter, to preserve and exhibit the history of the Crown’s land forces. Perhaps the most sombre moment of the visit was when The Queen inspected a Women’s Royal Army Corps Brigadier uniform, a dark green overcoat and sash, which she too wore during her service of WWII.
Princess Elizabeth signed up to the army in February 1945 when she was 18, despite George’s VI’s objections, and served as a mechanic and driver during the Second World War, and honorary junior commander until 1953. The Queen is the only female member of the Royal family to have served in the armed forces, and the only living Head of State to serve in the war.
She saw it as her duty to join the army to protect her country in its time of need, and this remains a proud moment in Her Majesty’s life. It is also a major contributing factor to the respect and pride that British and Commonwealth citizens feel for The Queen.
The trio visited the five new sections of the museum, each with their own specific focus; soldier, army, battle, society, and insight. There is also a discussion space, exhibition room, and exhibits about civil matters during conflicts, including flooding, fashion, and the film industry.
A short meet and greet was also held with donors to the museum in the new museum café, and a plaque was unveiled to commemorate Her Majesty’s visit.
The Queen was presented with a posy of flowers by two young children as she left, the daughters of an army photographer, who has captured her at so many military events over the last few years.