Queen And Prince Charles Honour Bravest Of The Brave

The royals remembered the nation's military and civilian heroes at two separate events.

Some of the bravest of the brave who have won the UK's highest awards for gallantry have been honoured at two different services.

The Queen has hosted a reception in honour of Victoria and George Cross recipients, that one veteran described as a "family".

24 Victoria Cross and George Cross holders met the Queen at a lunchtime reception, before posing with the head of a state in a group photo.

One veteran in attendance, Johnson Beharry, received the Victoria Cross for two separate lifesaving actions during his tour of Iraq. 

Former major, Dominic Troulan, was also in attendance.

He was awarded the George Cross last year after repeatedly risking his own life to save around 200 people during a Kenyan terrorist attack in 2013.

Mr Troulan became the first Brit to be awarded the GC in more than 40 years, with a number of recipients between that time coming from Commonwealth countries. 

Speaking after meeting the Queen, Mr Troulan said:

"The one denominator among everyone else is the humility and how it's a family - which I've just realised as it's my first time.

"It's definitely a family of people, of all age groups, all different military and civilian arms and different actions to get what's been bestowed upon them, I find that quite humbling - it's great to see all these guys."

Queen Elizabeth II is given a book by Major Peter Norton GC (Picture: PA).
Queen Elizabeth II is given a book by Major Peter Norton GC (Picture: PA).

Meanwhile, 20 recipients of the Victoria Cross or the George Cross, along with widows and families of those who have posthumously received medals, attended a ceremony with the Prince of Wales at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square.

The exclusive tribute is held every two years to remember the nation's military and civilian heroes who made sacrifices in the service of others.

Victoria Cross and George Cross Association church service PA
Major Peter Norton GC with the Prince of Wales (Image: PA)

The Duchess of Cornwall and Metropolitan Police Commissioner also attended the service of remembrance and rededication.

The elite group of invited guests included Johnson Beharry, who in 2005 became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross since 1965.

The private, from 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, was awarded the honour for two separate acts of outstanding gallantry to rescue his comrades in Iraq in 2004. He suffered serious head injuries.

WATCH: Major Dominic Troulan spoke to Forces News after receiving his George Cross in October 2017

Major Dominic Troulan, 55, was attending after he was awarded the George Cross in 2017 for repeatedly risking his life to save about 200 people during a deadly Kenyan terrorist attack.

The retired officer, who served for two decades in the special forces, returned a dozen times to the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in 2013 to search for survivors and lead them to safety, after al-Shabab extremists stormed the centre armed with machine guns and grenades.

Mr Troulan described his debut appearance, including meeting the other attendees and chatting with Charles, as an "out of body experience, humbling and fascinating".

He said: "Nobody talks about their actions but there is a camaraderie that I can see. They are great friends. I am very proud to be here and have been welcomed along with my family."

Mr Troulan said the "humbling" thing for him was the many ordinary people who stepped in to help as the nightmare unfolded at the shopping mall.

He said: "This medal is not just about me, it is about lots of other people."

Major Peter Norton GC PA
Major Peter Norton GC, who lost an arm and a leg while leading an EOD team in Iraq in 2005 (Image: PA)

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces.

The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration and is awarded to those who have displayed the greatest heroism or the most conspicuous courage whilst in extreme danger.

The Prince of Wales, who has been president of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association since 2003, later hosted a tea party at St James's Palace for the veterans and their families.

They all posed for a group portrait which they will each receive as a keepsake.

Victoria Cross and George Cross Association Prince Charles PA
Members of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association (Image: PA)