Queen Elizabeth was born just eight years after the Royal Air Force was founded in 1918 in response to the demands of WWI. Now at the age of 92, she's helping the organization celebrate its 100th anniversary.
This morning, the Queen visited the Royal Air Force Club—an exclusive space for members of the Force which was also formed in 1918—to celebrate its centennial. Her visit commemorated the official opening of a new wing of the Piccadilly property. Queen Elizabeth toured the new spaces, but more artful surprises were to follow.
The British monarch also helped to debut a new stained-glass window in the Club, which celebrates the contributions of women in the Royal Air Force. Women have served since the RAF's founding year, but , they were relegated to a separate women's branch. Women's ability to join the aircrew, as opposed to just ground trades, has also evolved over time. The window aims to highlight how women's roles have developed.
Queen Elizabeth was able to meet some of the trailblazing women personally this morning. The country's first woman fast jet pilot, Jo Salter, was among the representatives from the RAF.
The event was capped off with yet another unveiling—this time of a new portrait of the Queen, commissioned to celebrate the Club's 100th anniversary. The painting is set in the White Drawing Room of Windsor Castle.
The royal family has a history of involvement with the Royal Air Force Club. When it first opened its doors in 1922, King George V and Queen Mary visited. As the family's official pointed out, Queen Elizabeth was "following in the footsteps of her grandfather" by signing the Club's visitor book as he had 96 years before. The House of Windsor is nothing if not consistent.