‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.’
The British Royal Family, today, led the Nation at the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at The Cenotaph, Whitehall in London. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the service was extremely scaled back and socially distanced. For the very first time, service was closed to the public but as always very moving.
The event began with a two-minutes silence and then Prince Charles of Wales laid a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. A wreath was also laid on behalf of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, by an Equerry. Today’s service remembered the armed forces community, British and Commonwealth veterans, the allies who fought alongside the UK and the civilian servicemen and women involved in the two world wars and later conflicts.
On the second Sunday of each November, The Queen leads the whole nation in remembering those who have died in world wars and other conflicts. In a ceremony at the Cenotaph, the focal point of the nation’s homage, as the bells of Big Ben toll eleven, and a single gun on Horse Guards Parade is fired, two minutes of complete silence is held in remembrance of all lost in the war.
Another round of gunfire signifies the end of the silence and the bugle call ‘The Last Post’ is played. The Last post is followed by a religious service and then a bugle call ‘The Rouse’. The ceremony ends with the National Anthem followed by a Veteran March Past where a member of the Royal Family takes the salute.
This year the Royal British Legion encouraged everyone to take to the windows and doorsteps for a two minutes’ silence at 11 am on Sunday, November 8, to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. Unlike last years when thousands of veterans and public member join the ceremony, this year only 30 war veterans were in attendance. They were joined by 150 personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force with musicians from all three services to play traditional music for the service.
The tradition of laying the wreath was inaugurated by King George V in 1919. A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. The Cenotaph, originally designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens was unveiled by King George V on 11 November 1920 at the same ceremony which saw the Unknown Warrior laid to rest. The original design was a wood-and-plaster structure. The current stone Cenotaph, identical to the original design, is a Grade II building and is undecorated save for a carved wreath on each end and the words “The Glorious Dead,” chosen by Lloyd George.
The Duke of Cambridge laid the wreath at the Cenotaph.
Her Majesty The Queen, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duchess of Cambridge watched the ceremony from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Her Majesty was joined by her Lady-in-Waiting Susan Rhodes in the balcony. Lady Susan is staying with The Queen in isolation at Windsor Castle hence her presence in the balcony with The Queen.
The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duchess of Cambridge was standing apart in another balcony. Due to the pandemic guidelines, this year balcony was not full like previous years. Queen’s cousins who usually join the family did not attend the event this year. The day belongs to the War heroes who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and future and the thousands of military veterans and public members make this day more grandeur with their presence. I do hope next year we will be back to the pre-COVID remembrance Sunday.
A video of the day.
Another vastly affected event was the annual Festival of Remembrance. Every year on Saturday before Remembrance Sunday a magical festival is held at The Royal Albert Hall in London that honours var veterans and their families. The Queen and the Royal family always attend the event. Read more about 2019, 2018 and 2017 Annual Festival of Remembrance here.
This year the festival was cancelled and in place of it, a pre-recorded event without any audience was broadcast. Prince Charles of Wales paid a tribute in the recording, “In this challenging year, we have perhaps come to realise that the freedoms for which they fought are more precious than we knew and that the debt we owe them is even greater than we imagined.“
Last Month, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge participated in The Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal and baked poppy cupcakes that were distributed in Legion’s Norfolk care home.
Earlier this week, Her Majesty the Queen made a private visit to Westminster Abbey ahead of Remembrance Sunday. The visit marked the centenary of the burial of the unknown warrior. About the visit, Buckingham Palace said, “The grave of the Unknown Warrior is the final resting place of an unidentified British serviceman who died on the battlefields during the First World War. The serviceman’s body was brought from Northern France and buried at Westminster Abbey on 11th November 1920 after a procession through Whitehall. The Queen’s grandfather, King George V, placed a wreath on the coffin at the Cenotaph, which was unveiled on the processional route. His Majesty later dropped a handful of earth from France onto the serviceman’s coffin as it was lowered into the grave at the Abbey. He was joined at the burial by his son, the future King George VI. The Unknown Warrior became an important symbol of mourning for bereaved families, representing all those who lost their lives in the First World War but whose place of death was not known, or whose bodies remained unidentified. It remains a solemn tribute to all service personnel who have lost their lives in combat.”
During the visit, a bouquet of flowers featuring orchids and myrtle – based on Her Majesty’s own wedding bouquet from 1947 – was placed on the grave of the Unknown Warrior. Queen Elizabeth I, The Queen Mother, started the tradition of laying a wedding bouquet at the grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey. A respect that is still part of the British Royal Family’s wedding ceremony.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a black military-style Catherine Walker coat. Thanks to Middleton Maven for the confirmation. The bespoke coat features silver buttons, tassels at the shoulders.
Catherine paired it with a new black Philip Treacy Hat. Thanks to CoutureAndRoyals on Twitter for the id.
The Duchess teamed up the look with The Queen’s Diamond and Pearl Small Earrings.
Three poppies, in remembrance of three Grandparents who fought in the world war, were adorning the coat.
Catherine was seen wearing Amaia Kids Adult Reusable cotton face mask – Black plumetti.
The Duchess of Cambridge has attended the Remembrance Sunday Service every year since getting married in April 2011. Today was her 10th appearance at the event. A look back at her 2017, 2018 and 2019 attendance.
On Wednesday this week, a special service will be organised at Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior. We can expect the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the socially distanced service.