The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the Annual Festival of Remembrance. Her Majesty The Queen did not attend the festival as per the medical advice but she will be present at tomorrow’s Remembrance Service at Cenotaph. The Festival of Remembrance is one of the staple events on the Royal Family’s calendar every November.
Yesterday, Kensington Palace a video of The Duchess of Cambridge talking to Italian War Veteran Colonel David Blum and Scout Cub Emily Edge. The conversation spanning generations was held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea earlier this month.
The Year 2021 marks the 100 years since the nation’s collective Remembrance traditions were first brought together. The poppy, two-minute silence, Armistice Day, the service for the Unknown Warrior, and the march-past at the Cenotaph are traditions that millions participate in every year. This year’s festival paid tribute to the military and civilian, the old and young, and the British and Commonwealth men and women who have fought wars, disasters, and pandemics to protect and defend Britain.
This year’s Festival of Remembrance commemorates the people, communities, and nations who secured peace and our way of life 75 years ago, whilst reflecting upon the service and sacrifice made by many in protecting the nation from Covid-19 – The Royal British Legion
Tonight was the 94th Festival of Remembrance since its birth in 1927. Every year since 1927, The Royal British Legion’s annual festival commemorates the British soldiers who laid their lives for the nation during World War at Royal Albert Hall on the eve of Remembrance Sunday – the second Sunday of November.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, the festival took another form where Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall participated in a digital version of the festival – 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 realize 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.“
The very first Festival of Remembrance was called ‘In Memory 1914-1918 – A Cenotaph In Sound’, in aid of The British Legion on 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. In 1928, King George V and Queen Mary attended the Festival, with The Queen writing in her diary that it “was most beautiful & uplifting“. The King noted in his diary that, “At 9.0 May & I were present at the Remembrance Festival at the Albert Hall for the British Legion. The place was crammed & they sang all the war songs and & also some hymns, the singing very fine, & the whole thing was most impressive & dignified, with Guards hands & organ.“
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 3 events. It was not until 1971 that the British Legion were permitted to use the prefix ‘royal’, following a Royal Charter bestowed to the organization on 29 May 1971. The festival was promptly renamed the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, which it has proudly held every year since then. Although the festival was originally only intended to honor 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 here.
We are helping every poppy count and sharing poppies with the public on behalf of Kensington Palace. pic.twitter.com/MTNkx983nE
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) October 30, 2021
During the remembrance period, the members of the royal family wear a red poppy. The red poppy is a sign of both Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. The Poppy Appeal is the Royal British Legion’s biggest fundraising campaign held every year in November, the period of Remembrance. Get involved in this year’s Poppy Appeal here.
This year’s festival was hosted by Huw Edward. The event began with the Festival Fanfare performed by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry under the direction of Trumpet Major Julian Sandford. The State Trumpeters of the Band of the Household Cavalry regularly play at major state events and anniversaries, usually in the presence of The Queen or other senior royals. The Household Cavalry is one of the oldest regiments in the British Army, dating back to 1660. They are known for their distinctive gold attire.
The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth (Royal Band) performed ‘Wish Me Luck’ and ‘Kiss Me Goodnight’. Other performances included Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, Royal Air Force Shades of Blue Big Band, and The Orchestra of the Household Division. The Princes of Wales gave the Royal tribute.
The festival also remembered the British hero, Sir Thomas Moore. During the pandemic, the war hero, Captain Sir Tom Moore, on 6 April 2020, at the age of 99, began to walk one hundred lengths of his garden in aid of NHS Charities Together, with the goal of raising £1,000 by his 100th birthday on 30 April but raised over £32.79 million on his 100th birthday. Captain died on 2 February 2021 at Bedford Hospital.
A tribute was paid to the fallen of The Battle of Britain. The battle marked one of the first key victories after the battle and subsequent evacuation of Allied Forces from Dunkirk. Although this victory marked a turning point in the War in Europe, it came at a heavy cost to both civilians and military personnel. High Flight written by John Gillespie Magee Jr was performed by Julian Ovenden at the festival. Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment performed the Battle of Britain March and the Eagle Squadron.
The Chelsea Pensioners are always a distinctive presence at the Festival of Remembrance. Michael Ball OBE and Alfie Boe OBE performed ‘Boys of the Old Brigade’ at the entrance of the Pensioners.
A tribute was paid to Korean War. 2020 marks seventy years since the start of the Korean War. The conflict was officially ended in July 1953 by the Korean Armistice Agreement. It is estimated that between 60,000 to 100,000 British service personnel saw action during the Korean War
The Book of Remembrance was carried by Flight Lieutenant Laura Foster and Lance Corporal Apassara Wichaisri. The procession includes NHS nurses who are civilians, reservists, and regulars. The Duchess of Cornwall took to the centre to pay a tribute.
Artistic performances included Alfie Boe, Cynthia Erivo, Gregory Porter, Ramin Karimloo, and Alexandra Burke.
The festival headed towards the end with ‘The Last Post’ performed by a Bugler of the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines followed by ‘Reveille’ – Performed by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry, ‘The Dedication’ Led by the Royal British Legion’s National President, Lieutenant General James Bashall CB, CBE, ‘Sunset’ – performed by The Mark De-Lisser Singers and The Blessing led by the Right Reverend James Newcome DL from The National Chaplain to The Royal British Legion.
“Three cheers for Her Majesty The Queen”
The Festival Of Remembrance comes to an end with a show of appreciation for The Queen who is at home resting ahead of her appearance at the Cenotaph tomorrow.
Prince Charles shows his appreciation.
— Royal Central (@RoyalCentral) November 13, 2021
The National Anthem concluded the Festival. The Chelsea Pensioners gave a very sweet tribute to Her Majesty The Queen who was resting at home.
She was wearing her black Eponine London Bouclé dress with a pointed collar and pleated skirt that she first wore in February 2020 at the Dear Evan Hansen performance. The Bouclé dress with a pointed collar and the pleated skirt was from the label’s 2018 Autumn-Winter collection.
The mid-length dress features embellished buttons and a hidden zipper on the front bodice of the dress. The dress looks like a custom version of the dress shown here. Duchess had the pointed collar replaced with the vee-neckline and the buttons at the front of the dress are also different from the original one.
Catherine paired the dress with her a pair of black velvet pumps that looked like her Jimmy Choo Romy 100 Pumps but can’t be confirmed yet.
She was carrying Alexander McQueen Beetle Box Clutch in Black Velvet
The Duchess of Cambridge wore Princess Diana’s Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings
The Duchess was also wearing Lady Diana’s Triple Strand Pearl Bracelet.
— Royal British Legion (@PoppyLegion) November 13, 2021
Tomorrow we will see the Royal Family at the Cenotaph where they will attend the annual Remembrance Sunday service.
In other news, Clarance House released a lovely picture of Prince Charles ahead of his 73rd birthday tomorrow. The picture was taken by Hugo Burnand earlier this summer at the Highgrove.