Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral takes place at Westminster Abbey
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Mr Beharry said in an interview with the Sun on Sunday: “Her Majesty was like a gran to me. Without the Queen, I wouldn’t have the life I have now.” Two months ago today on September 6, Queen Elizabeth held her final royal engagement when she met with former Prime Ministers Liz Truss and Boris Johnson.
The new interview with Mr Beharry has given insight into Queen Elizabeth during her final royal assignment and how brave how resilient she was to continue acting as head of state.
Mr Beharry, who was awarded the Victorian Cross, said: “Two days before Her Majesty’s passing, I had an email asking me if I could confirm that I’m definitely available if Operation London Bridge happens. I never replied.”
Operation London Bridge was the code name for the plans in place in the event of Queen Elizabeth’s death.
The veteran added: “The following day I had a phone call saying, ‘We need you to confirm, yes or no, you’re happy to go through with it if Operation London Bridge happened’.
“I said, ‘I’ll do anything you need me to’. I left it like that. The next day she died. I thought it was simply them updating the process.”
The Iraq hero was 25 years old when he met Queen Elizabeth in 2005, when she awarded him the Victorian Cross for saving around 30 comrades while on the front lines, which led to the veteran suffering life-threatening brain injuries.
Mr Beharry said: “Meeting Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace was the scariest day of my life.
“I would have preferred to have been in Iraq being shot at again. I never dreamed I would ever meet the Queen.
“She said to me, ‘You are a very special person, I don’t get to do this very often’.
“She asked me about the injury. She told me, ‘These things don’t heal overnight. It will take a long time’.”
He added: “I met her more times than I can count and she was always interested in how I was feeling and coping.
“Every time, she was genuinely concerned for me. She would always compare Prince George and my son Aidan, who are the same age.
Mr Beharry continued: “She never called me Johnson. She always called me Beharry. I lost my gran in 2003. Her Majesty was like a gran replacement for me and the way I was treated, the respect and communication was like no one else.”
The veteran says he felt “goosebumps” when he learned of Her Majesty’s death and recalled: “It didn’t sink in until I saw King Charles outside the Palace and people starting singing, ‘God save the King’ that Her Majesty had gone.”
Mr Beharry said that he and his wife Mallissa were invited to privately visit Queen Elizabeth while she was lying in state at Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster before the funeral.
He said: “I was trying hard to hold it together. I could feel my chest getting tight and feeling heavy. I was choking up.
“It was very, very emotional. I paid my respect and spoke to her. I told her, ‘Thank you for your service and thank you for everything you did for me. I will serve your country until I die.
“Without the VC, which you gave me, I would not be where I am today’.”
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Mr Beharry pushed fellow Victorian Cross veteran Keith Payne, who is in a wheelchair, while at the funeral for Queen Elizabeth, and did not realise he was in front of a world leader while at Westminister Abby.
He said: “I was so focused on the magnitude of the day that I didn’t even know the US President was behind me, just six feet away.
“After the funeral finished, we started chatting about the amount of security. Someone said, ‘Do you know who was walking behind you in the Abbey?’
It turned out to be US President Joe Biden, who Mr Beharry says “was not a happy bunny” when the leader was stopped to make way for the veterans but added: “I know it wasn’t personal.”
Next Sunday, Mr Beharry will be at the Cenotaph to mark Remembrance Sunday and said he will be thinking of Queen Elizabeth, as he said: “I will be thinking of her and saying thank you for everything you did for me and all of us.
“I will serve the country the Queen served so well until the day I die.”
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