Along with heads of state and global leaders, seven Victoria Cross and 10 George Cross medal recipients will be at today’s Queen’s funeral service, as well representatives of those charities close to the Queen’s heart.

Joining the 2,000 guest is Tony Gledhill, 84, who was awarded the George Cross in May 1967 for an act of bravery for pursuing a recklessly driven car containing five armed criminals in Deptford, south London, less than a year earlier.

Mr Gledhill said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be invited, there are about 17 of us going and it’s an absolute honour, I’m on my way to London this afternoon, this will only happen once in my lifetime so I’m incredibly moved to be involved.

Charity chiefs have also described the “honour” of being invited to the Queen’s funeral.

Fiona Gardner said it “deeply moving” to have been invited to represent the Women’s Royal Army Corps Association.

She told the PA that the late monarch had a “common bond” with women who served in uniform.

The Queen joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1945, becoming the first female member of the royal family to join the armed forces as a full-time active member.

Ms Gardner, vice president of the association, said: “I think it’s going to be incredibly emotional, and extremely poignant.

“I have to say I’m incredibly honoured because I’m representing the members of the WRAC Association – which includes members of the ATS who, of course, served alongside her late majesty.”

Meanwhile, Dr Jilly Tolfrey, chief executive of the Fire Fighters Charity, said that the Queen had a particular affinity with the charity after staying in London during the Blitz.

She told PA: “It is an honour and a privilege to attend the funeral, particularly as a representative of the Fire Fighters Charity and all our representatives.

“Her Majesty was our royal patron for 69 of her 70-year reign.

“The Fire Fighters charity grew out of the Blitz, providing service to widows and orphans of fire service personnel. Her Majesty remained in London with her parents and sister during this terrible time and she saw herself the impact on the fire service and the communities of which the firefighters were part.

“She brought all that knowledge and her majesty’s humane sympathy and social empathy.

“She was an embodiment of public service and that was really evident in her role as patron and she clearly held the fire and rescue service in high regard.”

Dr Denise Chaffer, president of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said it was an “absolute honour to take part in such a key moment in history” and to represent the College at the Queen’s funeral.

The Queen was patron of the RCN from 1953 until her death.

“The nursing staff are proud that they are being represented at such an historic event,” Dr Chaffer said.

“We’ve put up our own book of condolences both in the four countries but also online, and the messages in there are just so moving, just overwhelming. They show the affection that nurses have felt for the Queen.

“The Queen meet with many thousands of nurses during her time as patron of the Royal College of Nursing, always taking time to listen to their experiences.”