The Queen has hailed the "professionalism and courage" of Britain's servicemen and women as tens of thousands of people celebrated Armed Forces Day.
Troops were greeted by cheering crowds during a parade through Cardiff to mark the second annual event in honour of troops past, present and future, from the oldest veteran to the youngest cadet.
In blazing sunshine, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were joined by the head of the Armed Forces Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup and Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox in the Welsh capital.
The national event in Cardiff, attended by around 50,000 people, was one of more than 350 organised around the country.
The Queen, who sent a message of support, said the troops operated in the "most difficult and dangerous of circumstances".
"The men and women of our Armed Forces have always been admirable examples of professionalism and courage," she said. "Then as now, they perform their duties in often the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances, both at home and overseas."
Hazel Hunt, the mother of the 200th member of British forces to be killed in Afghanistan, said the celebration provided a "comfort" to her.
Her son, Private Richard Hunt, 21, of 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh, was killed last year. "I think the event is absolutely fantastic," said Mrs Hunt, 50, of Abergavenny, Gwent.
Other major celebrations were held in Edinburgh, where guests included the head of the Army, General Sir David Richards, and Manchester, which welcomed the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope.
There were also a host of smaller functions in towns and villages nationwide, ranging from parades and military displays to a mass skydive in fancy dress and a "patriotic knitting" exhibition. The events were particularly poignant for the families of the 10,000 British troops currently serving in Afghanistan. A total of 307 UK servicemen and women have died and many more have been wounded since operations in the country began in October 2001.