Here in Great Britain it is Remembrance Sunday.
Today, we commemorate the fallen of two world wars, and all the conflicts which have happened since then, on the Sunday that is closest to the 11th November. And on Armistice Day, at 11 o’clock, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we stand silent for one minute, regardless of where we are, to pay our respects to those who gave their lives for us, and today as the chime of Big Ben resounds over London, we stand for two minutes’ silence.
This year, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen, whose wreath is on behalf of the nation. I took the above photo (from the television) and it was a complete chance that as the camera was showing Prince Charles, the shutter of my camera closed just as the television camera then went to Her Majesty, watching the ceremony from the balcony nearby. I find the double portrait quite moving. It is one I would normally discard as not being quite perfect, but by sheer chance I have the monarch and the monarch-in-waiting pictured together.
It was a clear, sunny morning in Whitehall, and it’s wonderful how quiet and respectful the many thousands of people are who come each year to this service.
Once everyone is in place, the clergy have taken up their places as well, the royal personages arrive, led this year by the Prince of Wales, with his sons Princes William and Henry (the commentator gave him his correct title of Prince Henry of Wales, today, not Prince Harry as he is known to everyone.) Also there were The Duke of Wessex (Prince Edward), the Princess Royal (Princes Anne), and the Duke of Kent. *I didn’t see The Duke of York (Prince Andrew) – perhaps he was there but I just didn’t see him. Watching from the balcony was, as I showed in my first photo, Her Majesty The Queen and also Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
*I have just watched (8 pm this evening) some footage of the ceremony and yes, The Duke of York (Prince Andrew) was there, next to Princes William and Henry. Also, The Duchess of Cornwall was on the balcony with HM The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
and on the adjacent balcony, Princess Alexandra of Kent (sister of the Duke of Kent), The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Wessex.
Apologies for a not very clear photo, I was hoping my camera would focus quickly but it takes its time and I wanted to photograph them before the TV camera showed something else.
The Prince of Wales laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen, which she has always laid on behalf of the nation. And then he laid his own wreath as Prince of Wales, which is always arranged as the Prince of Wales feathers.
There followed wreath-laying by other members of the royal family on behalf of the various armed forces which they represent.
And after the brief service of Remembrance, and the singing of the National Anthem, the service drew to a close, the royals and clergy removed themselves from their positions by The Cenotaph, the national memorial to the fallen designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, such a simple memorial but so moving in what it represents, upholding the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Above, choristers of The Chapels Royal return indoors after the brief service, their attire remaining the same since the reign or Charles II.
There then followed the wreath-laying by the Government, led by the Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May, followed by Jeremy Corbyn, for Her Majesty’s Opposition. The various High Commissioners of the many Commonwealth Countries then laid their wreaths, and also the representative for the Royal British Legion who organize this annual commemoration.
Then began the march past, the ex-servicemen and -women, around 9,000 of them, including some Chelsea Pensioners, i.e. veterans who live in The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, in their scarlet uniforms.
This gentleman, and I do hope he won’t mind my using this photograph which I took from the television, served in Korea, and he now lives in the Royal Hospital, which is what the RH on his cap stands for.
It is always a moving service, one in which the nation comes together to remember all those who gave their lives to keep our country and the countries of the commonwealth free from tyranny. May they rest in peace.
Until next time.