Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Queen bestows a rare honour on Wootton Bassett

The war in Afghanistan may be controversial, especially when one keeps in mind that the wish of the Afghan delegates of the Loya Jirga to restore the Monarchy was ignored by the Western powers, but the soldiers who fight, are injured or, sadly, die there deserve everyone's respect. Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, UK, has gained fame as its residents stood quietly showing respect for fallen servicemen as their bodies passed through the town.

The BBC reported two days ago:
Wootton Bassett has been officially renamed with the prefix "Royal" in a ceremony in the Wiltshire town.

Thousands of people gathered for the ceremony, during which the
Princess Royal presented the Letters Patent on behalf of the Queen.

The move recognises the role the town played during the repatriation of UK military personnel killed in war.

The Princess Royal, accompanied by her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, at the commemoration event in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Speaking at the ceremony Princess Anne paid tribute to the residents and said the community had come together in a most extraordinary way.

"I am privileged to be allowed to add my thanks to those of Her Majesty the Queen and the whole country for the example you set in responding with dignity and respect to the losses that this country, operational responsibilities have forced upon us," she said.

The Princess Royal and the Mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett, Councillor Paul Heaphy, unveil the Letters Patent at the commemoration event marking the town's new 'Royal' title, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, 16th October 2011.

Earlier the Princess was received by the Lord Lieutenant, John Bush, before touring an exhibition in the town's library and watching a parade through the town's High Street.

The decision to rename it
Royal Wootton Bassett was taken by the Queen following a petition from the prime minister.

The last town to be given royal status was Tunbridge Wells in Kent, in 1909.

The first repatriation service took place in Wootton Bassett in April 2007 when the bodies of military personnel began arriving at the nearby RAF base at Lyneham.

Since then thousands of people have turned out to pay their respects to servicemen killed in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The last cortege passed through the town in August, after which RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire became the landing site for planes returning from conflict zones.

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