The Queen knighting Captain Tom Moore in person is a step back to normality, according to a royal expert.
The captain, who became an honourary colonel after his enormous fundraising effort, will on Friday officially become Captain Sir Tom Moore when he is knighted by the Queen in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
His family will be able to attend the ceremony with him, and his daughter called the knighthood “the icing on the cake”.
Dickie Arbiter, royal commenter, said the in person ceremony was “very significant”.
Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, told BBC Breakfast: “This is an opportunity for the Queen to meet the great man face-to-face and acknowledge his achievement.
“Raising just under £33 million for the NHS is no mean achievement in anybody’s book but to do it at 100 is an amazing achievement.
“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.”
In a message on Twitter, Sir Tom said he was “ready and raring to go” and called it a “very special day”.
His daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore told BBC Breakfast: “It is just the most sensational day – of all the things Tom been honoured by, this is just truly the absolute icing on the cake.
“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.
“This is, I believe, the first individual investiture.”
The Queen had to postpone investiture ceremonies this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and this is the first one for months.
It comes after a couple of weeks of the royals returning to in-person engagements, with Charles, Camilla, William, Kate, Sophie and Edward all carrying out socially distant visits, primarily outdoors.
Well-wishers have been asked not to attend the ceremony at Windsor Castle, and warned there will be no public viewpoint, with the investiture taking place entirely inside the castle grounds.
Sir Tom’s grandchildren said they were proud of their grandfather’s fundraising efforts.
His grandson Benjie said: “This is a really special day for the entire family.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he 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.”
Sir Tom’s granddaughter Georgia said: “We are so proud of him and I’m so excited for this day.”
Sir Tom set out to walk 100 lengths of his back garden before his 100th birthday, and hoped to raise £1000.
But his efforts caught the hearts and attention of the nation, and he raised more than £33 million, as he continued to walk longer than his original target too.
His birthday was marked with an RAF flypast, an honourary title of Colonel, and a card from the Queen, hand delivered by her representative in Bedfordshire.