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Brave marine proposes at palace

A Royal Marine who was being honoured for his bravery by the Prince of Wales took the chance to propose to his girlfriend at Buckingham Palace.

Marine Mark Jackson went down on one knee in the grand ballroom of the Queen's home to ask Rebecca Daniel to be his wife shortly after the ceremony in which he collected his Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.

He was being honoured for his heroic actions in Afghanistan after picking up and throwing back an insurgent's grenade and lying on a comrade to shield him from the blast. The incident happened when he was on look-out duty in Helmand province in August last year.

The romantic serviceman let the heir to the throne in on his secret proposal as he collected his medal during the investiture. "I told him I was going to propose and he said 'Many congratulations in advance'," he said.

Miss Daniel, 29, from Budleigh Salterton, Devon, who was wearing her white gold and solitaire diamond engagement ring, said afterwards in the palace quadrangle: "It was totally unexpected. It's a day that's not going to be trumped for a while. It was an immediate 'yes'. I think he's been putting me off the scent for a while."

Marine Jackson, from Newbury, Berkshire, who recently injured his ankle, joked afterwards: "I went down on one knee. I fought through the pain." He added: "We've been together for two years and she was with me throughout that tour...I thought it would make it memorable."

The Prince praised the marine, who had been on his first tour, for his bravery.

"I was just a baby marine when I went out there. The Prince read the citation and he just said he couldn't believe it," Marine Jackson said.

But he added: "There are so many stories out there that are untold - so many lads that deserve this."

His medal citation described how his "only thought was for the life of his comrade who, had he hesitated for one moment, would have been killed." Recalling the way he dealt with the grenade, he added: "I just thought that's going to hurt and ran over and launched it back."

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