Was it a rare public display of emotion? A breeze? Allergies?

By Erin Hill
Updated May 18, 2016 12:10 PM
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Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Queen Elizabeth rarely makes a public show of emotion, but the stoic monarch was seemingly moved to tears at a service for fallen soldiers Tuesday.

The Queen attended the moving memorial for the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Thirty-two members of the regiment have died since it was formed almost 10 years ago.

When the Queen was photographed wiping her eye at the touching ceremony, the media went into overdrive: Was it a rare public display of emotion? A breeze? Allergies?

The Queen, who has a special relationship with the regiment as she is its colonel-in-chief, appeared to discreetly wipe away a tear way from her cheek as she looked upon the statue of the Lion of England, the regiment’s emblem. The palace declined to comment.

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Throughout her 63-year reign, Queen Elizabeth has rarely cried in public.

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She famously shed tears during a 1997 ceremony when the royal yacht Brittannia was decommissioned after 40 years of service. And then again in 2002 at a Remembrance Day Service soon after the Queen Mother’s death.

Prince Harry recently praised his grandmother for her record-breaking reign, admitting he feels the pressure of living up to her reputation.

“It’s just incredible to know that someone at that age appreciated and understood exactly what was expected of them, and to basically put duty ahead of everything else so early on in her life is quite remarkable,” he said in a documentary to honor her milestone 90th birthday.