Queen uses walking stick ‘for comfort’ as she attends Westminster Abbey service

The Queen walked with the aid of a stick as she visited Westminster Abbey to celebrate the centenary of the Royal British Legion.

Her Majesty, who was joined by her daughter Princess Anne, looked radiant on Tuesday in her first full public church service since the Covid lockdowns. She used a walking stick as she stepped from her car to the Abbey in the sunshine.

It is understood the stick was used for comfort rather than a specific medical reason as the Queen continues her working life in public at the age of 95. The monarch held the stick but did not appear to lean on it heavily.

It is one of the first visible concessions she has made to her advancing years as she fulfills a busy autumn of commitments following the lockdowns and the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. She has previously been photographed using sticks for medical reasons, including after a knee operation in 2004.

Adjustments have previously been made to major events to aid the Queen’s comfort. In 2016, she used a lift rather than stairs to enter Parliament for the State Opening. By taking the lift, she avoided the 26 steps of the royal staircase at the Sovereign’s Entrance.

She has also not worn the heavy Imperial State Crown since 2016, and it is now placed on a deep red and gold velvet cushion during the proceedings.

The Queen, Westminster Abbey - WireImage/Samir Hussein© Provided by The Telegraph The Queen, Westminster Abbey – WireImage/Samir Hussein

On Tuesday, the Queen appeared in good spirits and wore a deep blue dress and matching hat with blue and white flowers.

Buckingham Palace said the service was intended to highlight the RBL’s “enduring legacy built over the last century, its ongoing work supporting and commemorating those from the UK and Commonwealth communities who serve, or have served, in the Armed Forces, and the charity’s focus on the future as it looks ahead to the next 100 years.”

Princess Anne read Matthew 25: 31-40, and the service was led by The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster.

‘A landmark moment for the RBL’

Speaking ahead of the service, Victoria Cross hero Colour Sergeant Johnson Beharry hailed the RBL’s centenary as a “landmark moment”. The legion is famous for its Poppy Appeal, which encourages public donations in return for the red flower worn in memory of the UK’s war dead.

C/Sgt Beharry, of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, said: “This is a landmark moment for the RBL, and I am proud to be here to celebrate it. The charity is very close to my heart. For 100 years it has tackled the key issues facing the armed forces community that mean so much to me, and I know they will continue supporting us long into the future.”

The charity was founded on May 15, 1921, and brought together four national ex-servicemen organisations established to care for military personnel and their families after the First World War.

The physical injuries of the returning servicemen were not the only issues that needed addressing. Some men found it difficult to find work, which left their dependents in need. Over the following decades, the charity has helped members of the armed forces from every major conflict.

The Queen wore a deep blue dress and a matching hat with blue and white flowers - Samir Hussein/WireImage© Provided by The Telegraph The Queen wore a deep blue dress and a matching hat with blue and white flowers – Samir Hussein/WireImage

Retired Lieutenant General James Bashall, the RBL’s national president, said the centenary was a “very proud moment” for all those associated with the organisation and it was an honour to have their patron the Queen and Princess Anne as guests.

He added: “In our centenary year, we remain committed to our mission to ensure that those who have given so much for their country get the fair treatment, support and recognition they deserve. And, as we look ahead to the next century, we invite the next generation to continue our vital work in the years to come.”

General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, was among the congregation for the service and was joined by members of the military, veterans and their families from the UK and the Commonwealth.

‘When I was at my lowest ebb, the RBL was there for me’

Readings were given by C/Sgt Beharry, Sir Nick and Sara Jones, whose husband Lieutenant Colonel Herbert “H” Jones was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery at the Battle of Goose Green during the Falklands Conflict.

Naomi Hall, an RAF and Afghanistan veteran supported by the RBL as she recovered from physical and mental health injuries, also gave a reading.

Ms Hall said: “When I was at my lowest ebb, the RBL was there for me and has been ever since. My road to recovery has been a long journey and I could never have imagined it would lead to this day.”



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