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Northern Ireland cadet's 'immense pride' after guard of honour role at Queen's 90th birthday beacon lighting ceremony in Windsor

By Claire Williamson

Published 22/04/2016

Ballymena cadet Emma-Lee Wray stands holding flowers as the Queen lights the first of her 90th birthday beacons. Picture: Screengrab BBC
Ballymena cadet Emma-Lee Wray stands holding flowers as the Queen lights the first of her 90th birthday beacons. Picture: Screengrab BBC
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Queen Elizabeth II lights a beacon to celebrate her 90th birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Ballymena cadet Emma-Lee Wray stands wearing red sash. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales speaks during a beacon lighting event at the Cambridge Gate of Windsor Castle to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday.Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales speaks at a beacon lighting ceremony to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. The Queen will light the principal beacon which will set in train a series of over 1,000 beacons across the country and worldwide. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Queen Elizabeth II lights a beacon to celebrate her 90th birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. The Queen will light the principal beacon which will set in train a series of over 1,000 beacons across the country and worldwide. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales speaks before Queen Elizabeth II lights a beacon at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday.Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II lights a beacon at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Queen Elizabeth II attends a beacon lighting ceremony to celebrate her 90th birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. The Queen will light the principal beacon which will set in train a series of over 1,000 beacons across the country and worldwide. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

A 17-year-old cadet from Northern Ireland has told of her immense pride as she stood by the Queen as she lit the first beacon during her 90th birthday celebrations.

On Thursday the Queen's 90th birthday was marked publicly by the nation as she became the country's first nonagenarian soverign.

The monarch went on a walkabout close to Windsor Castle where she was greeted by thousands of cheering well-wishers.

She later lit the first almost 1,000 beacons across the nation as Prince Charles paid tribute to her.

He said:  "I find it very hard to believe that you've reached your 90th year and I suddenly realised the other day that I have known you since you were 22 years old.

"But this, ladies and gentleman, is a very special occasion and this beacon that her majesty is about to light will also represent - as it lights other beacons across the nation - the love and affection with which you are held throughout this country and the Commonwealth."

Standing by her side as the beacon lighting ceremony began was a cadet from Northern Ireland who was specially chosen for the task.

Emma-Lee Wray from Carnlough in Co Antrim was picked on the back of her cadet achievements where she has risen to the rank of company sergeant major.

She also has completed the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards - alongside excelling academically at school with 8A* grades and an A in her GCSEs.

Speaking after the momentous occasion she said she felt "immense pride" at what she had done - and shared the humour remark made by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel through Windsor in an open top Range Rover after her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel through Windsor in an open top Range Rover after her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Royal Standard flies above Windsor Castle as the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh travel through Windsor in an open top Range Rover after her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II talks to local women who are all aged in their nineties during her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II talks to local women who are all aged in their nineties during her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave from the top of an open Range Rover on the monarch's 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (centre L) accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh greet wellwishers during a 'walkabout' on her 90th birthday in Windsor, west of London, on April 21, 2016. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh greet wellwishers during a walkabout on her 90th birthday in Windsor on April 21, 2016. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II waves to well wishers from a open top Range Rover in Windsor, Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets the public on her 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
A gun fires during a 41 gun royal salute to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II at Hyde Park on April 21, 2016 in London, England. 71 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into place at Hyde Park to fire forty one blank shots. The soldiers, horses and guns are from The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery who rode out from their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks and are commanded by Major Robert Skeggs. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
A gun fires during a 41 gun royal salute to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II at Hyde Park on April 21, 2016 in London, England. 71 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into place at Hyde Park to fire forty one blank shots. The soldiers, horses and guns are from The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery who rode out from their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks and are commanded by Major Robert Skeggs. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II attends a Walkabout to celebrate her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Burger King restaurant at Tottenham Court Road in London, which has been rebranded for one day only as 'Burger Queen', in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday. David Parry/PA Wire
Members of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards band play outside Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, ahead of a 21 Gun salute in honour of The Queen's 90th birthday. Ben Wright/PA Wire
Crowds gather for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Crowds gather outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Crowds gather outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Town criers Steve Clow (left) and Peter Baker join crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. Photo credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Judy (left) and Anne Daley, from Wales, join crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Sandra Martin from TV show Gogglebox joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
David Weeks joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal enthusiast Margaret Tyler holds a cake that she has made for Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by the Queen as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Steve Clow, one of the 'Three Criers' Town Criers prepares for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The 'Three Criers' Tony Appleton, Steve Clow and Peter Baker prepare for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Judy Daley and Anne Daley from Cardiff wait in position for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Dennis Melvin waits in position for the Queen's 90th Birthday Walkabout on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be carrying out engagements in Windsor. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Royal enthusiast John Loughrey and Kathy Martin join crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
A rosette wishing Britain's Queen Elizabeth II a happy birthday is pictured on a royal supporter outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal supporters pose for pictures outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal supporters gather outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Bunting is pictured outside Windsor Castle, west of London, on April 21, 2016, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Royal enthusiast Margaret Tyler holds a cake that she has made for Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by the Queen as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
The cake made for Queen Elizabeth II by royal enthusiast Margaret Tyler is seen outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by the Queen as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Royal enthusiast John Loughrey joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Donna Werner, from Connecticut in the USA, joins crowds outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire before a walkabout by Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her 90th birthday. John Stillwell/PA Wire

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "It was an unforgettable experience.

"I never thought I'd be so close but I met them all and the Duke of Edinburgh was really funny.

"The Queen accepted my flowers and asked did I pick them myself

"And I told her unfortunately not."

"The beacon took a moment to light and the Duke asked "does any one have a match".

She added: "I am immensely proud of what I did and just feel so honoured."

Meanwhile members of the Army Cadet Forces lit beacons at the top of the four highest peaks in the UK - including Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland.

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