There were royalty, entertainers, politicians and world leaders in attendance at Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday.
There were also health care workers. They were among the 2,000 people invited inside Westminster Abbey for Elizabeth’s funeral.
Earlier this year, Elizabeth honored members of Britain’s National Health Service with the George Cross. They were honored for their efforts in leading the United Kingdom through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their honors were just the third time a collective group has been honored with the George Cross since it was established in 1940.
Among those honored was May Parsons, who administered Britain’s first COVID-19 shot.
“All of the staff in hospitals and our communities went above and beyond during the pandemic to look after patients despite the risks the virus posed to themselves, across health and care, staff sacrificed so much to look after those in need,” Parsons said.
On Monday, it was health care workers paying tribute to the queen.
“Her Majesty the Queen gave steadfast support to the NHS throughout her reign and in return, she had the admiration and respect of staff right across the health service for her leadership, wisdom and devotion to duty,” said NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard. “Receiving the George Cross from Her Majesty earlier this year was the proudest moment in the NHS’s long history.”
Elizabeth spent much of her final two years at Windsor Castle during the COVID-19 pandemic. The royal family led Elizabeth’s coffin from Westminster Abbey to Windsor in a procession on Monday following the state funeral.