The Queen awards the George Cross to the UK's National Health Services


The Queen has awarded the George Cross to the National Health Services of the United Kingdom.

A personal message from The Queen in support of the Award, handwritten by Her Majesty, reads:

"It is with great pleasure, on behalf of a grateful nation, that I award the George Cross to the National Health Services of the United Kingdom.

This award recognises all NHS staff, past and present, across all disciplines and all four nations.

Over more than seven decades, and especially in recent times, you have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service. 

You have our enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation.


Details of the presentation of the Award will be confirmed at a later date.


The George Cross

The George Cross was instituted by King George VI on 24th September 1940, during the height of the Blitz.

The George Cross, which may be awarded posthumously, is granted in recognition of “acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger.” The Award recognises actions by civilians and military personnel not in the face of the enemy. 

The award of the George Cross by The Queen is made on the advice of the George Cross Committee and the Prime Minister.

The most recent recipient of the George Cross is Dominic Troulan, a retired British Army officer and former Royal Marine. Mr Troulan was awarded the George Cross on 16th June 2017 for his actions during the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. STRICTLY UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 0001HRS MONDAY 5th JULY 2021 

Collective George Cross Awards

This marks only the third occasion on which the George Cross has been awarded to a collective body, country or organisation, rather than an individual.

Malta, 1942 

In 1942, the George Cross was conferred on Malta by King George VI, in recognition of the fortitude displayed by the island’s inhabitants during sustained and devastating enemy bombardments in the Second World War. 

On 15th April 1942, a handwritten message was sent from King George VI to General Sir William Dobbie, the governor of Malta, to announce the Award. The message read as follows:

To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary, 1999

In 1999, The Queen awarded the George Cross to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), in recognition of the collective and sustained bravery of the Force, including the families of those serving.

The following official George Cross citation was released by Buckingham Palace on 23 November 1999:

For the past 30 years, the Royal Ulster Constabulary has been the bulwark against, and the main target of, a sustained and brutal terrorism campaign. The Force has suffered heavily in protecting both sides of the community from danger - 302 officers have been killed in the line of duty and thousands more injured, many seriously. Many officers have been ostracised by their own community and others have been forced to leave their homes in the face of threats to them and their families. 

As Northern Ireland reaches a turning point in its political development this award is made to recognise the collective courage and dedication to duty of all of those who have served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and who have accepted the danger and stress this has brought to them and to their families.

The RUC was Northern Ireland’s police force between 1922 and 2001, when it was incorporated into the new Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The George Cross was presented to Constable Paul Slaine by The Queen on 12th April 2000 at a ceremony in Hillsborough Castle, who accepted it on behalf of the RUC. Paul was a police officer confined to a wheelchair as a result of an IRA mortar bomb attack in 1992. Approximately 1,500 RUC officers and their families watched The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, honour the Force at the ceremony.

Related content


The Queen's Green Canopy

A living legacy of over three million trees planted across the United Kingdom in honour of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen's Green Canopy
Press release 08 September 2022

A statement from Buckingham Palace

Read more

A message from The Queen to the Governor General and the people of Canada

I mourn with all Canadians at this tragic time.

07 September 2022

A message from The Queen to the President of Pakistan

The United Kingdom stands in solidarity with Pakistan as you recover from these terrible events.

29 August 2022

A message of congratulations from The Queen to the England Women's Football Team

You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

31 July 2022

Commonwealth Games 2022

Keep updated with the latest Commonwealth Games news

The Queen's message for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

My warmest thanks go to all those who have worked so hard to ensure the success of this particularly special sporting event, and I wish each athlete and team every success

28 July 2022

A message of condolence from The Queen following the death of former Prime Minister Abe of Japan

I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time.

08 July 2022
Media pack

Financial reports 2021-22

The Royal Household today published its annual financial statement, the Sovereign Grant Report, for the financial year 2021-22. The Sovereign Grant is the funding provided to...


Holyrood Week 2022

Read more about this year's Holyrood Week

A thank you message from Her Majesty The Queen following the Platinum Jubilee weekend

My heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability.

05 June 2022

A Platinum Jubilee message from The Queen

I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last...

01 June 2022

The Platinum Jubilee weekend

A day-by-day run through of Jubilee events
Press release 06 May 2022

70 facts to mark The Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Read more

A message from The Queen to President of South Africa following the floods in KwaZulu-Natal province

I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life and destruction caused by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal province. My thoughts are with all those who have lost...

14 April 2022

The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message 2022

In these testing times, it is my hope that you can draw strength and inspiration from what we share, as we work together towards a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future...

14 March 2022

Commonwealth Day 2022

14 March 2022

The Queen's Accession Day message

I hope this Jubilee will bring together families and friends, neighbours and communities.

05 February 2022

Resources for the Platinum Jubilee

Images, links and other resources for those marking the Jubilee online or in print.

Accession Day 2022

01 February 2022
Media pack

Financial reports 2020-21

The Royal Household today published its annual financial statement, the Sovereign Grant Report, for the financial year 2020-21.