Queen wears lime green at Commonwealth War Graves memorial
Speaking to one officer working with Typhoon jets, the Queen cheekily asked if they were “being sent off to chase the Russians”.
He replied: “That’s correct ma’am, it’s a lot of fun for us!”
To which the monarch responded by simply making the sound: “Hmm”.
Queen news: The Queen visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Air Forces Memorial today
Queen news: An equerry laid a wreath of behalf of the Queen
During her visit, the smiling monarch was also promised to be delivered a present from the RAAF especially made for her two new corgis – two dog jackets.
The Queen, delighted, replied to the offer: “That’s very kind. I look forward to it.”
While this engagement included some light-hearted moments, the Queen looked solemn as she attended the service in honour of the thousands of RAAF members who died in conflict.
During the memorial service, an equerry – Major Tom White – laid down a wreath on behalf of the Queen bearing the message: “In memory of the glorious dead, Elizabeth”.
Queen news: The Queen wrote the foreword in the order of the service taking place today at the memorial
In the foreword she wrote in the order of service, the Queen said: “As one of the oldest Air Forces in the world, it is fitting to pay tribute to the efficiency, skill and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in its ranks, in Australia and overseas, during the past one hundred years.
“Throughout my reign, the Royal Australian Air Force has shown immense dedication to duty and has defended our freedom in many conflicts around the world.”
The monarch was also shown panels with names of Australian war dead and a display of fallen airmen and women.
More than 350,000 men and women have served in the RAAF since its formation in 1921, taking part in conflicts ranging from World War II to the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan and Iraq.
Queen news: The Queen paid tribute to the thousands of RAAF members who died in conflict
Queen news: The Queen asked an officer whether the Typhoon jets are ‘being sent off to chase the Russians’
Over the past 100 years, more than 11,100 members of the RAAF lost their lives in service.
The Queen’s visit to the memorial was particularly poignant as the monarch herself officially opened this site on the second year of her reign, in 1953.
During a chat with a member of the RAAF recently posted to the UK, the Queen also acknowledged the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on young officers serving in the country.
She said: “It’s rather bad luck to have arrived in lockdown, isn’t it?
Queen news: The line of succession to the throne
“I hope in the next couple of years you’ll be able to travel a bit more.”
During today’s engagement, the Queen was not required to wear a face mask as it was carried out outside.
The monarch received the first dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 with her husband Prince Philip in mid-January.
The palace hasn’t confirmed whether the royal couple has already been inoculated with the second dose as well.
Queen news: The Queen spoke to RAAF staff
The Queen last carried out a face-to-face engagement on November 8, when she attended the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.
A few days before, in the run-up to a second national lockdown in England, the Queen travelled from Windsor to Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to the Unknown Warrior.
In October, she visited Porton Down with Prince William to officially open the new Energetics Analysis Centre.
The pair also thanked staff at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory for their pivotal work during the COVID-19 crisis and the investigation over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in 2018.
Later today, Prince William will also mark the centenary of the RAAF in a video to be shown at a special dinner taking place in Canberra and attended by, among other officials, Australia’s Prime Minister and the Governor-General.