Cadets and volunteers from all corners of Wales received the experience of a lifetime at the recent royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Representatives from the Sea Cadet Corps (SCC), Army Cadet Force (ACF) and Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC) watched the wedding from a VIP section in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
As Her Majesty’s representatives in the preserved counties, the eight Lord-Lieutenants in Wales invited tens of representatives from the armed forces and cadet communities to experience the day.
It’s an important time for the RAF Air Cadets as they commemorate their 100 years of history and tens of teenagers made the trip to witness another historic occasion.
Cadet Warrant Officer Sarah Rose from 275 (Nantyglo and Blaina) Squadron said: “It was such an incredible day. The crowd cheered and it was just a happy and positive atmosphere.
“There were a lot of feelings and emotions in the air during the day but the main realisation I had was that I felt honoured to not only be invited to this event, but to be amongst a large number of individuals who have made a positive contribution to their local communities.”
Cadet Flight Sergeant Natasja Gill from 372 (Barry) Squadron said: “I thought the whole day was amazing, especially to see members of the Royal Family up close as well as so many celebrities. I met so many likeminded people who have also worked to support their community and got to hear about some of their amazing stories.”
Over 4,400 cadets gain new skills and qualifications as they enjoy fun with friends. In most cases, they meet weekly and learn the value of citizenship through practical activities, gaining widely recognised qualifications subjects such as first aid.
Lieutenant Kyle James and Second Lieutenant Clare A’Hearne of B Company, Dyfed and Glamorgan Army Cadet Force (ACF), were selected by Mr Byron D Lewis Esq KStj, HM Lord-Lieutenant of West Glamorgan and President of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales.
Reflecting on the day, Kyle said: “It was an honour to be invited to attend the Royal wedding by the Lord-Lieutenant and a complete surprise. Both myself and Clare were extremely lucky to watch the Royal family and guests making their way into St George’s Chapel.
“The atmosphere of the entire day was outstanding and we were able to listen to the wedding ceremony from the grounds of the castle which was a wonderful experience, one which I will always remember.
“I have been a member of the ACF for 19 years and find volunteering extremely rewarding. To be recognised for my commitment to the ACF in this way was amazing.”
It was reward for their extremely hard work, which for Kyle includes being Detachment Commander, County Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Officer and a fundraiser for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
There are more than 1,200 adults who volunteer with the three cadet organisations. They spend a few hours of their week at local units to make a massive impact on their communities, inspiring cadets to achieve in the classroom and future careers.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will now be known as Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The rings were made by Cleave and Company and The Duchess’ was fashioned from a piece of Welsh gold, gifted by The Queen.