Tonight the Duke of Cambridge Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Catherine joined Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and members of Royal Family for the annual Royal Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Tonight was the 91st Festival of Remembrance since its birth in 1927. Sir Tom Jones, Sheridan Smith, Sir Bryn Terfel, Tom Fletcher and Danny Jones, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and the Kingdom Choir performed alongside the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and the Band of HM Royal Marines.
Every year since 1927, The Royal British Legion’s annual festival commemorates the British soldiers who laid their lives for nation during World War at Royal Albert Hall on the eve of the Remembrance Sunday – the second Sunday of November.
It includes a matinee open to members of the public and an evening event for members of the Legion, their families, officials and royals.
The very first ‘Festival of Remembrance’ was called In Memory 1914-1918 – A Cenotaph In Sound, in aid of The British Legion, Field Marshal Earl Haig’s Appeal for Ex-Service Men of all Ranks, and was held on 11 November 1923. A royal delegate including HRH The Prince of Wales was in attendance to hear John Foulds’ new composition, A World Requiem: A Cenotaph in Sound, performed by a chorus and orchestra.
In 1927 the concert was simply renamed the ‘Remembrance Festival’ and featured community songs including Pack up Your Troubles, Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty, and Tipperary. The event ended with a service that has now become familiar, featuring The Last Post and ending in God Save the King/Queen.
Her Majesty who took the patronage of Royal British Legion in 1952, made her first visit to the Hall aged 26, following her accession to the throne, on 8 November 1952 for the British Legion Festival of Remembrance. Since then she has missed only 2 events.
It was not until 1971 that the British Legion were permitted to use the prefix ‘royal’, following a Royal Charter bestowed to the organisation on 29 May 1971. The festival was promptly renamed Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, which it has proudly held every year since. Although the festival was originally only intended to honour those who died in the First World War, it now includes tributes to the war dead from more recent conflicts.
The Monarch and the members of the Royal Family watch the festival from the royal box of the hall. A very interesting fact about the royal box is that whenever the reigning monarch visits the Hall, the hammer cloth – a beautiful and very heavy velvet curtain bearing the Royal Coat of Arms and the initials of the reigning monarch of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, is hung from the balcony in the Royal Box and taken down immediately after the visit. The currently used hammer cloth was made by the Royal School of Needlework(RSN) in 1876- the date is embroidered on the lower left of its hem. Learn more about the hammer cloth here. You can find out more about the historical event at the official website of the Royal Albert Hall and about the Royal Albert Hall here.
The Poppy Appeal is the Royal British Legion’s biggest fundraising campaign held every year in November, the period of Remembrance. This year, join us as we mark the end of the WW1 centenary by saying Thank You to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world. Click here to support the appeal.
To mark Remembrance Week and Armistice, a very special installation has been done at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2016, fifty-one transparent seated military figures were installed in the Penshurst Church for Remembrance. This solemn tribute left an indelible impression on all who saw it. Two years later, building on the impact this action had, There But Not There has been installed at the hall. Learn more about the amazing installation here.
Queen Elizabeth II arriving at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall tonight.
The event began once The Queen took her seat in the Royal Box with Prince Charles on her right and Prince William on her left. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip did not attend the event as announced earlier.
Royal Family in the Royal Box of the Royal Albert Hall.
The State Trumpeters marked the beginning of the event.
The Festival of Remembrance opened with a World War I themed tri-service display featuring Royal British Legion standards representing branches from across the UK.
The event was hosted by Huw Edwards. In the opening statement, he remarked, “Tonight we will be remembering all those whose lives were touched by those four years of conflict”.
Tonight also marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, the end of the First World War. The festival honoured the sacrifice made by hundreds of thousands of countless men and women of Britain and the Commonwealth. 2018 is also the 100th birthday of the Royal Air Force.
During the festival, The Duke of Cambridge Prince William paid tribute to his new patronage the new National Defence and Rehabilitation Centre and the fallen soldiers of WWI.
Sir Tom Jones performed ‘Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer’ with the Royal Air Force Squadronaires to pay tribute to aviation who played a vital role in WWI.
Tom Fletcher and Danny Jones along with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force performed a specially written piece to celebrate the 100th birthday of Royal Air Force.
On each seat in the Royal Albert Hall laid a photo of a fallen soldier.
Next, the Torch of Remembrance entered the Royal Albert Hall and a citation was read by the World War II veteran Colin Bell DFC: “They came because country called”.
After the Chelsea Pensioners aged between 66 and 88 received a guard of honour from scouts and girl guides.
The Band of HM Royal Marines performed marking the 100th anniversary of Zeebrugge.
At the end of the HM Royal Marines performance, Queen was seen applauding.
The audience in the hall stood to welcome bereaved families, led by Des and Maureen Feely, whose daughter Corporal Sarah Bryant was killed in Afghanistan in 2008 aged just 26.
Sheridan Smith captivated the audience with her amazing performance of ‘Are You Just Sleeping’ backed by a soft tune of the piano.
The audience of the hall gave a standing ovation to the parents and families of the fallen as they make their way across Royal Albert Hall.
A special moment as the Festival of Remembrance audience in Royal Albert Hall stood and hold up pictures of relatives who served in the war in a moment of thanks to the WW1 generation.
The moment was backed by the amazing cellist
Sheku Kanneh-Mason and the Kingdom Choir.
A very sombre and emotional view of the scene as Michael Palin CBE, an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter, paid tribute to poet Wilfred Owen who died less than a week before the armistice was signed.
The audience welcomed all the armed and defence forces in the Albert Hall as the forces paid tribute to the fallen soldiers who gave their lives while serving the nation.
The staff of Headley Court entered Royal Albert Hall with the Book of Remembrance to present the amazing contribution that the rehabilitation centre has made to the lives of the Armed Forces over the years.
Right Rev James Newcome led the prayers at the ceremony.
At the end of the ceremony, everyone observed 2 minutes silence while the poppies fell silently on the audience honouring the brave men and women of the nation.
Duchess of Cambridge has attended this event every year since 2015. Tonight Duchess made a stunning and sombre appearance.
She was weaning black Roland Mouret asymmetric neck dress thanks to Perth fashion on Twitter for quick id. Crafted from black wool and stretch silk, the midi dress featured an asymmetric neckline and elbow-length flared cuff sleeves. The dress is already sold out.
The midi dress that falls in the Duchess’ regular style spectrum was a perfect choice for the event.
A closure look at the dress neckline and fabric.
Catherine paired the dress with Jimmy Choo Romy Velvet Black Suede Pointy Toe Pumps. The classic pointy toe pump has been slightly updated with a softer point and a new stiletto heel. Leather lined with a leather sole, they are finished with a black suede upper.
The Duchess accessorised her dress with Pearl brooch on loan from the Queen, that we first saw in 2017 in Belgium to mark the Centenary of Passchendaele. Duchess topped the brooch with three poppies.
Duchess finished her look with a new pair of pearl earrings. Initially, it was thought that she was wearing The Qatar Pearl and Diamond Demi-Parure earrings on loan from Her Majesty. But a closer look shows that they are different than the Queen’s earrings shown below.
Update: The Duchess of Cambridge wore J.Crew Crystal and Glass Pearl Stud Earrings. The £68 earrings are described as, “In a beautiful combination of glass pearls and crystals, the pair presents each stone a claw-setting that highlight the stones”.
Tomorrow The Duchess of Cambridge will attend annual Remembrance Day Service at The Canetoph and a special Armistice Day service at Westminster Abbey marking its 100 years with The Royal Family.