King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu Nation has visited a selection of original Victoria Cross medals dating back to the 19th Century, including the eight original 1879 Anglo-Zulu War VCs from Rorke's Drift at The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh, based in Brecon.
They have been unlocked from their secure vault to be exhibited for the first time to coincide with this week's Wales visit of the Zulu King in tandem with this year's 140th anniversary of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry that a British and Commonwealth serviceman can achieve and linked with acts of extreme bravery. The original document associated with the medal stated it could only be awarded for “gallantry of the highest order”.
The eight original VCs on display are those that were awarded to Lieutenants Teignmouth Melvill, Nevill Coghill and Gonville Bromhead, Corporal William Allen and Privates Frederick Hitch, Henry Hook, Robert Jones and John Williams. Some of them have been displayed before, but not all eight at once.
King Goodwill Zwelithini was met at the museum by Major General James Swift OBE, who is Regimental Colonel of The Royal Welsh.
Colonel (Retired) Tim Van-Rees, of the Friends of The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh, said: “I think it’s fairly safe to say this is the first time they (the original VCs) have been on public display, yes. This is a unique opportunity to see these iconic medals.
"This will also be the first time we’ve had the King visit the museum and it’s an absolute privilege to welcome him here."
The medals will be available to view until October 2019.