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Queen Elizabeth Participates in First Public Investiture Since 2020

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For the first time since 2020, the Queen took place in a public investiture ceremony this morning, to award the George Cross to representatives of the National Health Service (NHS).

During the audience at Windsor Castle, the Queen was sporting her new haircut and wore a pink and green floral dress.

Photo credit: AARON CHOWN - Getty Images
Photo credit: AARON CHOWN - Getty Images
Photo credit: AARON CHOWN - Getty Images
Photo credit: AARON CHOWN - Getty Images

The George Cross recognizes "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger." The medal was first instituted by King George VI during the Blitz of London in World War II.

The George Cross has been given as a collective award on just two previous occasions: to the island of Malta in 1942, for their heroism during the Siege of Malta during World War II, and to The Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1999—for their action in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.

In July 2021, Queen Elizabeth announced via handwritten message that the NHS would be the third group to ever receive this honor.

"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," she wrote. "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."

She signed the message Elizabeth R, with the R standing for "Regina," the Latin word for Queen.

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