Fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore will be knighted by the Queen in his own ‘unique personal open-air ceremony’ at Windsor Castle on Friday.
The 100-year-old Second World War veteran will travel to the historic Berkshire royal residence with members of his family for the special outdoor investiture.
Captain Sir Tom raised almost £33 million for health service charities by walking laps of his Bedfordshire garden.
He won the hearts of the nation for his determination after originally setting out to raise just £1,000.
Royal investitures were put on hold during the pandemic and those scheduled to take place at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in June and July were postponed.
But the 94-year-old Queen, who has been staying at Windsor since before lockdown for her safety, will carry out the official engagement in person – rare for the monarch during the coronavirus crisis – making a special exception to honour Captain Sir Tom.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “On occasion, the Queen invests individuals privately during audiences.
“Captain Sir Tom Moore’s knighthood was, exceptionally, announced individually by the Prime Minister, outside of the usual announcements of the Queen’s Birthday Honours and the New Year Honours.
“Captain Sir Tom and his family were hopeful the investiture could take place in a timely fashion and we are pleased it has been possible on this occasion.”
The open-air ceremony will be staged in the castle’s quadrangle, where a military ceremony was held for the Queen’s official birthday in June.
Buckingham Palace said they believe it is the first time this “unique” format will have taken place, amid the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and the announcement of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s individual knighthood by Downing Street.null
The Queen will use the sword that belonged to her father, King George VI, and will present Captain Sir Tom with the insignia of Knight Bachelor.
The insignia, which hangs on a red ribbon edged in gold and is usually placed around the recipient’s neck, will be part of the ceremony, but the Palace is still looking at how best to abide by social distancing rules.
“The ceremony will be held in line with all the appropriate government advice, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines,” the spokeswoman added.