December 21, 2019

Queen and three princes carry on the Christmas pudding tradition in aid of lonely veterans
For many families it is an essential preparation for the festive season, the stirring and mixing of the Christmas pudding before it is put away for maturing. It was no different for The Queen and her offspring, who were last week photographed mixing four special Christmas puddings in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. The puddings were prepared by the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George as centre pieces of a special initiative by the Royal British Legion to help tackle loneliness among veterans at Christmas. The four puddings made by four generations of the Royal Family will form part of 99 such puddings to be distributed across the charity’s network in the UK and the Commonwealth for Christmas 2020, marking the charity’s 99th year. The mixing session was led by Alex Cavaliere, one of The Royal British Legion’s care home chefs and a veteran of the Army Catering Corps, and attended by four veterans – Colin Hughes, Liam Young, Lisa Evans and Barbara Hurman.  Mr Hughes, 71, spent almost ten years as a Piper with the 1st Battalion Queen’s Own Highlanders in Aberdeen, serving on operations in Northern Ireland. After leaving the military, Colin went to Liverpool University to retrain as a social worker, a job he did for 26 years. The third generation in his family to serve in the military Mr Young, 33, served in Iraq and then Afghanistan.  While on tour in Afghanistan in 2007 he was injured on patrol and suffered long-term complications and medically discharged from the Army in January 2014. He now works for the USAF as a Hazardous Cargo Inspector. During her 10-year service Mrs Evans, now 35, was a Movement Controller helping to move troops, including injured soldiers; firearms, or equipment anywhere around the world.   Mrs Hurman, 93, is a World War Two veteran who served in the ATS as a sergeant from 1943-1947. Working at the underground communication centre at Fort Southwick in Portsmouth, she would send and receive messages regarding troop movements via the teleprinters. Following D-Day she volunteered to go abroad and joined the Central Mediterranean Forces, she was serving in Southern Italy when news of VE Day broke. Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George, alongside (left to right) veterans Liam Young, Colin Hughes, Alex Cavaliere, Barbra Hurman and Lisa Evans, in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace,  Credit: Chris Jackson/PA A new recipe was created for the launch, with the Royal Family uniquely adding poppy seeds to the mixture, in a nod to the charity’s symbol of Remembrance. Charles Byrne, the Royal British Legion’s Director General, said: “Christmas can be a time when people’s troubles and worries are exacerbated by the financial pressures of the season or feelings of loneliness and isolation.  “The extra support the Legion can give, and the camaraderie of our get togethers can make a big difference to our community’s well-being. Making and eating Christmas puddings has traditionally been a shared family activity, and we look forward to sharing these special puddings made with the help of The Royal Family.” Mrs Evans added: "It was lovely to see the different generations of the Royal family together making the puddings. It will give the initiative a huge boost. I think the fact Prince George took part will touch the hearts of not only the veterans of all generations but also their children, who often get forgotten."" The Queen has been Patron of The Royal British Legion since 1952 and has undertaken more than 60 public engagements with the Legion. It is fitting that the Royal family has provided practical support for the great pudding initiative. It was their ancestors, after all, who introduced the Christmas pudding to this country. Tradition has it that Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, popularised the pudding when he brought it over from his native Germany as part of the festivities. Historians are certain however that it was  actually George I who imported the meat free version of the pudding we enjoy to this day from Germany in 1714. So central is the tradition of making the pudding that it even has its own eclessiastical name and date, with Stir Up Sunday, as it is known, falling on the last Sunday before the season of Advent.
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