A veteran who was made an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors said receiving a call to invite him to the monarch’s funeral brought a “special feeling”.
Robert Lodge, from Weeley Heath in Essex, said “a lady from the Cabinet Office called me and said they wanted some recent MBE recipients to attend”.
“In an instant, the answer was yes, of course,” said the 71-year-old.
“It’s a special feeling to receive this invitation.”
Mr Lodge, who joined the army as an 18-year-old gunner and rose to the rank of captain in 27 years of service, was honored for his work with the Red Cypher charity.
The charity supports past and present members of the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and is so named because “our cap badge is a royal figure with a red backing,” Mr Lodge said.
Mr Lodge met the Queen in Germany in 1984 when she visited an artillery parade in Dortmund.
“He was kind, straight-talking as everyone knows he is and a wonderful person,” he said.
“When I joined the army in 1969 as an 18-year-old, you swear allegiance to the Queen or the Crown and their successors, and when you do that, you start to understand what you’re getting yourself into.
“The Queen was our Captain General and King Charles will be our Captain General again and again.”
Mr Lodge said he was “very saddened” to learn of the Queen’s death.
“When I was invited to the funeral, it’s a duty and I feel privileged, and, ‘why me?’, but absolutely blown away to have been invited,” he said.
Lodge said he was asked to attend Westminster Abbey on Monday morning.
“It’s an honor and a privilege,” he said.
“I feel very humbled.
“This year, MBE, Queen dying, being invited to her funeral… it’s all a bit surreal, really.
“But looking at the pictures on TV and every person I talk to, there’s an outpouring of pain.
“Only this country would produce the standard of organization and spectacle that we are seeing on television.
“Absolutely incredible, outstanding, all the people involved.