Fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore is to be knighted by the Queen in a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle.
The 100-year-old Second World War veteran won the hearts of the nation and raised almost £33 million for health service charities by walking laps of his Bedfordshire garden earlier this year.
He will be joined by family members for an unprecedented personal investiture staged in the castle’s quadrangle on Friday.
A message from Tom 'I could never have imagined this would happen to me. It is such a huge honour and I am very much looking forward to meeting Her Majesty The Queen. It is going to be the most special of days for me'#FridayWillBeAGoodDay pic.twitter.com/zha2bCIMzi— Captain Tom Moore (@captaintommoore) July 15, 2020
Ahead of the ceremony, Sir Tom said on his official Twitter account: “It is going to be the most special of days for me.”
Hannah Ingram-Moore said the investiture was the “icing on the cake” of her father’s achievements.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast ahead of the ceremony, she said: ““We will take a leisurely pace down to Windsor – no rushing today and no falling, no tripping, and we have a fairly regimented day ahead of us.”
She added: “Protocol is being written as we speak and we will simply be doing as we are told.”
Sir Tom’s grandson Benjie said: “I just want to say thank you to absolutely everybody who has supported us.
“We would not be in this situation without everyone on the other side of the camera, so, from our family, thank you for putting us in this situation.”
His granddaughter Georgia added: “We are so proud of him and I’m so excited for this day.”
The 94-year-old Queen has been staying at Windsor during the coronavirus pandemic for her safety, but will carry out the official engagement in person.
While other investitures due to be held at Buckingham Palace in London and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in June and July were postponed, a special exception has been made for Sir Tom.
Buckingham Palace believes it is the first time the “unique” format of his ceremony will have taken place, amid the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and Downing Street’s announcement of Sir Tom’s individual knighthood.
The Queen will use the sword that belonged to her father, King George VI, and will present Sir Tom with the insignia of Knight Bachelor.
Buckingham Palace said the investiture will follow strict social distancing rules.
Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter described the Queen’s decision to give Captain Sir Tom Moore his knighthood in an individual ceremony as “very significant”.
He added: “The Queen has always said she ‘needs to be seen to be believed’ so today she will be seen – the last time we actually saw her physically was in June in the alternative Trooping of the Colour at Windsor Castle.
“To actually see the Queen in person – this is a step in the right direction, a step hopefully back to new normality, but it will be a very slow step.”