Thursday, 22 February 2024

Remembrance Sunday: King Charles Leads Commemorative Service at the Cenotaph

Remembrance Sunday: King Charles Leads Commemorative Service at the Cenotaph
Monday, 13 November 2023 09:06

King Charles led the Remembrance Sunday service following protests that marred Armistice Day.

Under gloomy skies, King Charles laid the first wreath at the Cenotaph on Sunday morning after a two-minute silence.

Thousands of onlookers lining the streets witnessed the Royal Marines' Orchestra march from Westminster Palace to the Cenotaph in the rain.

The group circled the monument accompanied by the marching Royal Marines, playing songs like "Rule Britannia," but the downpour ceased before the king somberly led the nation at the Whitehall memorial.

Wearing the Royal Air Force Marshal uniform with a poppy, Charles, as the sovereign and Commander-in-Chief of the UK Armed Forces, laid a wreath similar to the one made for King George VI.

The wreath featured 41 open poppy petals affixed to compositions of black leaves, traditional for royal wreaths, with 27-inch ribbons and bows in Charles's racing silk colors of crimson, purple, and gold.

King Charles lays a wreath at the Cenotaph during the Remembrance Sunday service. King Charles lays a wreath at the Cenotaph during the Remembrance Sunday service. PHOTO: Kin Cheung/AP Pool.

On Remembrance Day, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke against clashes in the capital between far-right groups, "sympathizers of Hamas," and the disrespectful behavior towards veterans by the police, saying Britain had fallen.

However, on Sunday morning, as members of the royal family accompanied Charles during the wreath-laying, the mood was entirely different.

Major Ollie Plankett of The Rifles, Camilla's equerry, laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen, who watched from the balcony alongside the Princess of Wales, followed by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the royal princess. The Duke of Kent's wreath was laid by his equerry.

Buckingham Palace stated that the Queen's wreath closely resembled the one made for the Queen Mother.

After the royal family completed the wreath-laying, Mr. Sunak approached the Cenotaph to pay his respects, laying a wreath before other prominent politicians, including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Home Secretary Suella Braverman, and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

They were joined by living former Prime Ministers of the UK: Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Sir Tony Blair, and Sir John Major.

When the wreath-laying concluded, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders, and Chief of the Air Staff Sir Richard Newton jointly laid wreaths.

The event concluded with a short service featuring prayers and hymns, followed by the Royal British Legion March.

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, and Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister, attend the ceremony. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, and Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister, attend the ceremony. PHOTO: PA/Yui Mok.

The event concluded with a brief church service featuring prayers and hymns. The event concluded with a brief church service featuring prayers and hymns. PHOTO: Aaron Chown/PA.

Stephen Jones, 48, from Angelsey, who served in the Royal Dragoon Guards, said it was "nice to see so many young people here today," adding that it was his first time in London for such an occasion.

Thomas Evans, 48, who served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, attended with his daughter, who "joined the army cadets because of me."

Mr. Evans from Buckley in Flintshire, Wales, said an important part of the day for him was "passing on the traditions of why we are here" to the next generation.

"I think this is His Royal Highness's first Remembrance Day. There's an edge to this day. Regardless of the generation and what's happening in the world, we remember the few," he said. "It makes you stoically remember why we're here — standing for two or three hours — to remember."

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