Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship
National hero Captain Sir Tom Moore has been knighted by the Queen in recognition of raising almost £33 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden.
The 100-year-old Second World War veteran was dubbed a knight by the Queen with her father's sword in an open air ceremony in Windsor Castle's quadrangle.
The former Army officer was joined by his family - daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, son-in-law Colin Ingram, grandson Benji and granddaughter Georgia.
After hosting the informal ceremony, the Queen spent around five minutes chatting to Sir Tom and his family.
She was overheard telling the former Army captain who celebrated becoming a centenarian a few months ago: “One hundred is a great age.”
The Queen, who has been sheltering at Windsor with Philip for much of the lockdown asked: “Have you been shut up – been isolating?”
The head of state’s arrival into the quadrangle was signalled by the sound of bagpipes played by the Queen’s Piper, Pipe Major Richard Grisdale, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The event was her first face-to-face royal engagement with a member of the public since March – albeit with social distancing.
Earlier, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended the unannounced wedding of their granddaughter Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a nearby chapel.
After the ceremony Sir Tom said he was "absolutely overawed", adding: "This is such a high award and to get it from Her Majesty as well – what more can anyone wish for? This has been an absolutely magnificent day for me.”
To meet the Queen was more than anyone could expect, never ever did I imagine I would get so close to the Queen and have such a kind message from her, it was truly outstanding.
Asked what was better, raising more than £30 million or having the Queen “break her lockdown” to award him the honour, Sir Tom replied: “The money is very useful but you’ve only one Queen and when you get a message from the Queen there’s no value that can be placed on that.”
But when he was asked about the personal message he received from the Queen, Sir Tom remained tight-lipped.
“That’s between the Queen and I,” he said “I don’t think I’ll tell anybody what she said, it was just the Queen and I speaking privately and it was a great honour for me to be able to speak to her at all."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Sir Tom, saying on Twitter that his knighthood was "richly deserved".
He said: "You have inspired the whole nation with your fantastic fundraising efforts."
Sir Tom Moore’s official Twitter account on Friday morning said: “Good Morning! Ready and raring to go for what is a very special day. Thank you for all the well wishes, as ever, overwhelmed by your support. #todaywillbeagoodday”
Sir Tom had set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire before his 100th birthday on April 30.
But his efforts struck a chord with national feeling, and praise and donations flooded in, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the veteran “provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus” and recommended he be knighted.