One hundred and fifty years ago today [in 1864] Her Majesty Queen Victoria introduced the ‘White Ensign’ – the flag of the Admiralty – as the Navy’s Flag.

It consists of a red St George's Cross on a white field with the Union Flag in the upper left corner; the White Ensign represents the professionalism of the Royal Navy wherever it is flown around the world.

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the White Ensign assuming its primary status two naval charities – The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the White Ensign Association – will tonight unite in celebration, along with 110 guests to mark the historic occasion and to raise the profile of the benevolence requirements and ongoing support needed by the nation’s ‘naval family’.

Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, President of The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Chairman of The White Ensign Association said: “The White Ensign is the globally recognised symbol of the Royal Navy, Nelson led his fleet in HMS Victory at Trafalgar under this flag and in the week after Her Majesty named the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier and national defence asset, HMS Queen Elizabeth, it is fitting that we mark this historic day.

“Tonight’s charitable gathering is just one of the many ways in which these two charities raise the profile of the ongoing needs of the nation’s sailors, marines and reservists.”

In 2013, alone The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity distributed £7.2m to the Naval family – awarding grants that support service personnel and veterans, and their families – and the White Ensign Association also provided care and assistance to its beneficiaries including practical advice on matters relating to employment, finance and resettlement.