Queen funeral: Ben Roberts-Smith seen at Westminster Abbey

Victoria Cross recipient Ben RobertSmith, who was accused in the federal court of heinous acts criminality” in Afghanistan, has been seen attending the Queen’s funeral.

The 43-year-old highly decorated soldier, who is awaiting the outcome of his defamation battle against Nine newspapers, was seen taking his seat at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

Roberts-Smith scored a place after the Queen requested all Victoria Cross recipients be invited to her funeral. He traveled to the UK alone for the occasion.

Fellow Aussie, Australian of the Year winner Dylan Alcott, was also seen arriving at the historic venue.

Roberts-Smith earlier said he was “deeply saddened” by Her Majesty’s passing, and confirmed he had been invited to her state funeral service.

“I feel deeply saddened by Her Majesty’s passing, I had an immense respect for her and she was someone I greatly admired,” Mr Roberts-Smith said in a statement to NCA NewsWire on Tuesday.

“In every interaction I had with the Queen she was warm, insightful and engaging. She was a magnificent monarch, a stoic leader, and importantly just a lovely lady.

“I feel extremely honored to be fortunate enough to pay my respects to the Queen and humbled that she saw fit to include the Victoria Cross recipients in her funeral procession.”

It comes after his defamation case wrapped in July after more than 100 days of evidence and an estimated combined $25 million in legal fees for both sides.

Mr Roberts-Smith denies the allegations of war crimes raised in the defamation battle and has never been charged with a crime.

Nine newspapers is seeking to rely on a defense of truth and allege Roberts-Smith was involved in six unlawful killings, including the execution of a man at Darwan in southern Afghanistan.

His legal team asserted that Nine’s defense “has more holes than Swiss cheese” and that his former soldiers had been used as “pawns” in murder allegations.

Roberts-Smith received the Victoria Cross for Australia for his efforts during an operation in Afghanistan in June 2010, after storming machine gun nests that pinned down his SAS patrol.

In 2011, Corp Roberts-Smith said that the “lovely” Queen had shown interest in what happened on the day his patrol was targeted.

“We talked mainly about Afghanistan and obviously a great opportunity for me to tell her about what everyone else in my (patrol) did that day, so I got to explain to her a bit of what everyone did as opposed to just myself,” he told reporters.

“Obviously she speaks to quite a lot of soldiers, so she was interested in Afghanistan and she has a good grasp of what’s happening there. I think that her reaction was, she was just glad that we all came home.

“She is everything that everyone says she is. She she’s very, just a lovely lady. Ela it’s very humbling, it’s very surreal, I just found it to be a great opportunity to talk to her about what my mates and what the other lads are doing in Afghanistan, as in the other Australians.”

Originally published as VC recipient Ben Roberts-Smith seen at Queen’s funeral

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