The Elizabeth Cross is awarded in national recognition of the loss and sacrifice suffered by the families of service personnel killed on operations in the line of duty, or as a result of terrorism.
Introduced in 2009 and named after the late Queen Elizabeth II, it was the first time since the George Cross was instituted in 1940 by King George VI that a reigning monarch had given their name to a new award.
Previously, the Victoria Cross was introduced by Queen Victoria in 1856 for acts of gallantry by the Armed Forces.
According to the government, the Elizabeth Cross is available to families of those who died in conflicts dating back to 1948. This includes the Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Falklands conflict, operations in Northern Ireland amid the Troubles and more recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recipients are given two pinned emblems made of sterling silver. One is full size for formal Remembrance events and a miniature version for less formal occasions.
The name of the person in whose memory it is granted is engraved on the reverse of the cross. The emblems are accompanied by a memorial scroll.
Addressing the Armed Forces in a broadcast when the award was launched 13 years ago, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II said: "This seems to me a right and proper way of showing our enduring debt to those who are killed while actively protecting what is most dear to us all. The solemn dignity which we attach to the names of those who have fallen is deeply engrained in our national character. As a people, we accord this ultimate sacrifice the highest honour and respect."
"I greatly hope that the Elizabeth Cross will give further meaning to the nation's debt of gratitude to the families and loved ones of those who have died in the service of our country. We will remember them all."