Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Queen's Tears

The Queen lays a wreath for the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment - she appeared to shed a tear during this act of commemoration
(photo credit: Sgt Jamie Peters RLC (phot)/ Defence Images Crown Copyright)

As she laid a wreath to remember fallen soldiers, the Queen appeared to wipe away a tear. This rare display of public emotion came as Elizabeth II paid tribute to lost members of the Duke of Lancaster's regiment in a ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum. 

One of the papers which has put the picture of the Queen's tears on its front page

The Queen has hardly ever cried in public in her long reign, indeed in her long life. She shed tears, understandably, at the funerals of her father, her mother and her sister and she cried when the Royal Yacht, Britannia, was sent into history. But to see her heartfelt sadness at this moving occasion was a surprise to many and has made headlines around the world.

The tears came as the Queen unveiled a new memorial to the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment which was formed in 2006 from three regiments in the north west of England. It remembers all its members who have died in action.

The Queen was shown the new memorial to the Lions of England before pausing for reflection then laying her wreath. It was then that the tears appeared to come.

Afterwards, the Queen met members of the regiment including Luke Reeson who last week won medals at the Invictus Games and chatted to Prince Harry.

The Queen is Colonel-in-Chief of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. The Duchy of Lancaster belongs to the Crown and has done since 1399 when Henry IV deposed Richard II. Henry had inherited it from his father, John of Gaunt, who obtained it through marriage to its one of its heiresses, Blanche of Lancaster. Now it passes from King to Queen with the British throne.

The Queen during her visit to the National Memorial Arboretum to unveil a memorial to the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment on May 17th 2016
(photo credit @LionsofEngland Twitter)

Regardless of how she came to hold the title, the Queen was thinking of a more recent past as she dedicated the new regimental memorial. Her tears for the fallen Lions of England showed how dear a place they hold in her heart. When tears are rare, they are all the more precious for it.

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