The Queen, who is head of the Armed Forces, In her Christmas Message devoted a large section to the sacrifice of the 10,000 service personnel on active service in Afghanistan.
A member of the Special Forces was killed on tuesday bringing the death toll in Helmand Province to four in four days. The total number of deaths is 243 since operations began in 2001. And 106 this year only.
The Queen has always had a special bond with the military. She drove ambulances during the Second World War as a member of the Auxiliary Transport Services (ATS). The Duke of Edinburgh spent long periods at sea during the war.
The Duke of York risked his life during the Falklands War as a Sea King helicopter pilot. Only last weekend the Duke was in Afghanistan as part of a morale boosting trip. Prince Harry served for 10 weeks on the Afghanistan front line.