The Queen visited Britain”s seriously injured war heroes at a military rehabilitation unit in Surrey on Thursday.
On her first visit to Headley Court the Queen, 87, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, 91, was visibly moved by the bravery and tenacity of the soldiers, who have suffered casualties with injuries ranging from amputations to psychological trauma.
The Queen, who was there to gain an insight into how seriously injured members of Britain”s armed forces are cared for, watched as amputee soldiers walked along obstacle courses on artificial legs or manoeuvred wheelchairs in the unit. The soldiers also showed her how they had their prosthetic limbs fitted.
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The monarch had a touching reunion with a triple amputee she once danced with at a ball at Balmoral.
Guardsman Dave Watson, 26, said: “Before I was injured I used to talk to the Queen every day, when I was based at Balmoral for three months.
“She comes around every day to see what”s going on and so does Prince Philip. I even danced arm in arm with her at the Ghillies” Ball.”
The war hero, who hopes to work with the ABF Forces Charity and compete in weightlifting and archery at the 2016 Paralympics, added: “It means a lot for the Queen to come here just to see what everyone is going through and the progress they”re making.”
Captain Nick Beighton, 31, who lost his legs in an explosion while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2009, said: “It”s a real honour to be able to host the Queen here. She”s our monarch and at the end of the day we all fight in the armed forces under her banner.
“It”s great she”s shown the interest by coming here and supporting all the work the staff do.”
Over the years the rehabilitation centre has welcomed Princes William and Harry, and a new £16.9m wing was opened by their father Prince Charles in 2012.
Set in the grounds of a building dating back to the Elizabethan period, facilities of the unit – which has been in function since World War II – include a hydrotherapy pool, swimming pool, four gyms and limb-fitting and amputee centre.