Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the British Queen Elizabeth II and the members of the Royal Family to honour the brave soldiers who laid their lives for nation during World War. Remembrance Day Service is one of the most sombre events of the Royal Calender.
Every year at Whitehall, British Monarch lays the wreath at The Cenotaph memorial in central London’s Whitehall to pay tribute to country’s war dead on Remembrance Day, a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919. The Cenotaph was unveiled by King George V on 11 November 1920 at the same ceremony which saw the Unknown Warrior laid to rest.
This year’s service also marks the great battles of Monte Cassino, Kohima & Imphal and D-Day in 1944 (end of the Second World War) and remembring the collaboration and friendship of the British, Commonwealth and Allied armies who fought these battles.
The Queen and The Royal Family were joined by the more than 10,000 people from across the country on the Mall and made their way around St James’ Park for Remembrance Sunday as part of a ‘nation’s thank you’ to those who fought in the Great War. World War Two veteran Ron Freer, 104, who is blind, will be the oldest person marching at the Cenotaph this year.
The service began with a 2 minutes silence marked by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery’s single shot on Horse Guards Parade. The silence was ended by a gun salute and the Royal Marines buglers sounding the Last Post. This year marks 100 years since the first two-minute silence on November 11, 1919, marking the moment the First World War came to an end a year earlier. Starting at the same time as the two-minute silence, the service at the Cenotaph honoured 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.
A video of the service.
It was Catherine’s 9th attendance at the annual event. She has attended it every year since her wedding in 2011. For the day, Duchess of Cambridge chose another military-style black coat. As per the Daily Mail report it was a from Catherine’s go-to designer Alexander McQueen.
Duchess paired her look with Queen’s Bahrain Pearl Drop Earrings. Duchess was also seen picking up a black clutch after the service. Due to the lack of clear pictures, I could not identify it.
Catherine honoured her GrandMother and Great Aunts who worked during World War II as Codebreakers at Bletchley Park by wearing the Codebreakers brooch. The £29.99 brooch is inspired by the rotors of the Enigma machines, from which Allied cryptologists successfully decrypted a vast number of enemy messages during the Second World War, the Codebreakers brooch is an extraordinary tribute to the work of those in signal intelligence.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the Queen and the members of the British Royal Family to lead the nation during the period of remembrance, The Royal Family attended the annual Festival of Remembrance hosted by the Royal British Legion at the Royal Albert Hall.
Today we celebrate our 100th anniversary. Over the past century we’ve helped shorten wars, saved lives & tackled the most serious cyber, terrorist, criminal & state threats. We remain committed to helping keep the UK safe for the next century
Tonight was the 92nd 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 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 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.
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 then. 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 here.
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. Click here to support the appeal.
The event began once the Queen took her seat in the royal box with her family. The British Royal Family has a very strong relationship with the country’s Military – The Duke of Edinburgh served in Navy for a long time, The Duke of Cambridge was a helicopter pilot serving the rescue team, Prince Harry served during the Afghanistan war 2 times, Prince Andrew served during the Falkland Wars.
Huw Edwards – a Welsh journalist, presenter, and newsreader, was the host of the evening. He welcomed the gathering with the opening remark, “At this year’s Festival, we’ll be pay tribute tonight to the WW2 generation… and we’ll be marking some of the notable campaigns of 1944, which changed the course of the war.”
The performances included Louise Dearman who opened the event with a performance of ‘The Impossible Dream’ with the Tri-Service Band after which the Personnel from RFA Mounts Bay – who delivered essential aid to people in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, enter the Royal Albert Hall.
The Torch of Remembrance was carried by 3rd Officer Sarah Stevens. The citation was read by Captain Rob Anders, Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, “We honour the Commonwealth nations and our allies who joined Britain in defending its freedoms, values and way of life.”
Next, the Band of HM Royal Marines performed Norwegian Pirate.
Colin Thackery & Chelsea Pensioners Choir performed The Old Brigade for the entrance of the Chelsea Pensioners. Introducing the commemorations of the battles that took place towards the end of the war in 1944, Hue Edwards said, “It’s been three-quarters of a century since 1944 – the pivotal year in the allied effort of WW2.”
Sharing their experiences and recollections of the Italian campaign, the Monte Cassino veterans James Knox and Otton Hulacki said, “Churchill made the mistake of calling it the soft belly of Europe.” Daniel Mays read the Red Poppies at Monte Cassino poem as a newsreel of the battle plays.
44 veterans representing the battles and campaigns fought during 1944, from Arnhem to Warsaw, were joined on the floor by currently serving personnel to rousing and emotional applause.
Next, Jeff Goldblum took to the stage to perform a very beautifully choreographed rendition of ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’.
After the artistically stunning performance, Blake Kubena and Jessica Aizlewood read the stories of Berlin Blockade. Then the candy bomber 99-years old Gail Halvorsen and Berliner Vera Mitschrich, who were on either side of the blockade as a young child in Berlin during the war, met each other on stage.
They were welcomed with emotional but happy applause from the gathering and the royal family. From the British Legion’s website,
The Berlin Blockade was the firing pistol that began the Cold War. The Second World War allies occupying a divided Germany, and a divided Berlin, were no longer able to bridge the ideological divide of the democratic and capitalist West and the totalitarian and communist East. This divide was to have far-reaching consequences both for the people of West Berlin and for the rest of Europe.
In June 1948 Britain, France and the USA announced they would unite western Germany, creating a new free and democratic country, with a new currency, the Deutschemark. The Soviet Union fearing a united democratic western Germany announced that the joint administration of Berlin would end and on 24 June began a blockade of West Berlin, cutting off all land routes and waterways in and out of the city.
To break the blockade and to deter future Soviet aggression on 26 June Britain, the US and France began flying in supplies to the over 2,000,000 citizens of West Berlin. It was to be the largest airlift in history and the first recognisable humanitarian operation carried out by the Armed Forces.
After the performance of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, the families of the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the war entered the hall.
JJ Doherty had wanted to be a Paratrooper from a young age. He was killed by a Taliban attack just 2 days after his 20th birthday. His brother Fin leads the bereaved families. James Blunt, who once served in the army alongside Prince Harry, performed a very emotional song ‘Monsters’.
As the flags of the Commonwealth Countries entered the hall and the drums were laid, Leona Lewis performed ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. Royal Brisith Legion President Lt General James Bashall gave the exhortation at the festival.
The event ended with the sound of the Last post. A two minutes silence was observed as the poppies fell on everyone.
Duchess of Cambridge opted for a navy dress. The calf-length dress, that is a new addition to her wardrobe was topped with a black velvet belt. The dress could be a bespoke piece but the label is still unidentified. I personally believe it could be a Jenny Packham number as the silhouette of the dress matches with her Jenny Packham Black Fern Dress.
Catherine carried a new black Alexander McQueen Clutch. Thanks to Gabi on twitter for the id. The clutch looks like the bespoke piece that has the same clasp as the Alexander Mcqueen Beetle Box Clutch.
The events like this festival just not honour the fallen and their families but also important to make sure the coming generations know what was the cost of the lives they are having today. Tomorrow the Royal Family will attend the annual Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service on Whitehall along with more than 10,000 veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces.
Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the launch of the National Emergencies Trust at St Martin-in-the-Fields. This is the couple’s first public engagements since they returned from the successful Pakistan visit. The couple was spending quality time with their children as George and Charlotte were on school break, at Anmer Hall.
Initially, only William’s visit was announced, on Tuesday Palace confirmed that the Duchess will be joining her husband at the launch.
The National Emergencies Trust (NET) is an independent charity which will provide an emergency response to disasters in the UK. It is being set up to raise funds from the general public in the event of a disaster or emergency within England for the alleviation of the needs of those affected by the event. The funds collected will be distributed by local partners on the ground in the areas affected by the emergency event.
The NET was created as a result of discussions held within the charitable sector about how to effectively respond to national emergencies following recent devastating tragedies, including the Grenfell Tower fire, and the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester in 2017.
As per Trust’s website, “Victims often find it difficult to know who to turn to in the tragic aftermath of a national emergency. The Trust will be there for those victims to facilitate a single point of contact to apply for help with a simple application process. Financial awards can be made to victims quickly and efficiently, avoiding the bureaucracy of multiple applications. It should also help use money more effectively and minimise fraud.” If you would like to donate, please click here.
The trust will work collaboratively with charities and other bodies to direct public donations to NET appeals and to distribute funds fairly and efficiently at the time of a national emergency. The concept of a collaborative approach to public emergency response has been proven by the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has been responding to overseas disasters for more than 50 years and will be applied by the NET to domestic emergencies.
In 2017, Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke visited families and first responders following the fire at Grenfell Tower. They also joined the crew of DIY SOS in 2018 on a major project to support those affected by the fire. The Duke of Cambridge was reportedly very hurt and disappointed in the previous system that caused delay to provide financial help to the victims in the case of disastrous tragedies.
Upon arrival, the royal couple met a small group of people affected by previous disasters, including the Grenfell Tower fire and the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack.
During the launch event, the Duke made a short speech before meeting representatives from the emergency services, NGOs, and some of the NET’s charitable partners.
“Whenever and wherever disaster strikes here in the UK, this country has a unique way of pulling together.”
The dress was topped with Emilia Wickstead Rectangular Buckle Woven Belt in matching blue (Shown here in black). The $200 belt was described as, “A firm favourite with the fashion set, Emilia Wickstead presents an eternally chic black woven belt that will complement a myriad of new-season looks. The rectangular belt buckle with silver-toned hardware is easy to adjust to sit high at the waist with a dress or lower with your favourite trousers.”
The Duchess of Cambridge paired the outfit with a new pair of Jimmy Choo Pumps. Catherine wore Jimmy Choo Romy 85 Leather Pumps. Thanks to HeavenQRF and Emma on Twitter for their hard work to identify the shoes. The $850 pumps are available on Net-a-Porter as, “The classic pointy toe pump has been slightly updated with a softer point and a new stiletto heel,” says Jimmy Choo of this ‘Romy’ pair. A versatile addition to any well-edited wardrobe, they’ve been expertly made in Italy from glossy patent-leather and set on a manageable 85mm stiletto.”
Russell Myers on Twitter reported that after the launch, Duchess visited the BBC Children’s and Education team at Old Broadcasting House this afternoon ahead of Anti Bullying week. It was a private engagement.
“In a sign of the importance they attach to the prize, its name could be used for photographs, clothing, footwear and headgear, acccording to the application. Other areas covered include education and training services, publishing, cultural activities and all relating to nature conservation and the environment.”
On Tuesday, Duchess also held an Early Years meeting at Kensington Palace. Last year the Duchess convened a steering group of experts, including practitioners, academics and charities, for a lifelong project to highlight the importance of early intervention. It is reported that in early 2020 we will see some more from the group.
Next, we will see Duchess on Saturday at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall that will start around 07:00 PM.