New portrait of King released as Queen pays tribute to armed forces

The Queen has hailed servicemen and women as a “source of inspiration, reassurance and pride” for the nation in a video message marking Armed Forces Day.

In the rare national statement, Camilla paid tribute to the efforts of the military, in the face of “challenges and dangers” that not only safeguard the UK “but also defend liberties way beyond these shores”.

Camilla’s message also reflected her personal association with the Armed Forces, as she described herself as the “proud daughter of an Army officer” and wore her Royal Lancers brooch – her late father’s regiment and the military unit she serves as Colonel in Chief.

A new photograph of the King in military uniform has been released on Armed Forces Day, held annually on the last Saturday of June for the country to show its support for veterans, service families, cadets and those still serving.

In her video Camilla thanked the men and women of the Armed Forces for “everything you do to protect this country of ours” and remembered those who made the “ultimate sacrifice” in the pursuit of world peace.

The King and Queen joined world leaders on the beaches of Normandy on June 6 to mark the 80th anniversary of the Second World War D-Day landings, and Camilla remembered the “incredible bravery” of the forces that liberated Europe from Hitler’s regime.

She added: “Eight decades later, I know that same spirit and those same qualities remain much in evidence throughout our Armed Forces, as you undertake your duties in the face of a multitude of challenges and dangers.

“In so doing, you not only protect these Isles, but also defend liberties way beyond these shores. Your determination, unrelenting efforts and selfless loyalty to each other and to the United Kingdom are as enduring as our gratitude.”

The message was recorded in Clarence House’s morning room that featured a picture of the Queen’s parents on their wedding day, January 2 1946, with her mother, then Rosalind Cubitt, posing with her father Major Bruce Shand outside St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge, London.

Major Shand served with the 12th Lancers during the Second World War and was awarded the Military Cross in 1940, during the retreat to Dunkirk, and again in 1942 for his efforts in North Africa, and was later wounded and taken prisoner while fighting in same region. He died in June 2006 aged 89.

The Queen is patron of the military charity British Forces Broadcasting Service which produced the video message, and she went on to say: “I also want to thank your families, who keep the home fires burning, whilst you are deployed overseas.

“As the proud daughter of an Army officer, I know something of the impact military life has on your loved ones – you too are heroes.

“In times of war and in times of peace, whether seen or unseen, our Armed Forces support and strengthen our nation. You are a source of inspiration, reassurance and pride – and I salute you all.”

In the new portrait the King, who is head of the Armed Forces, is wearing his Field Marshal No 1 full ceremonial frock coat with medals, sword and decorations.

The photograph was taken in the Grand Corridor at Windsor Castle, last November by Hugo Burnand, a favourite photographer of the royal family who took the official coronation photographs.