Sunday, 8 November 2020

The Royals Lead the Nation for a Scaled-Down Remembrance Sunday

It was a very different Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph in London's Whitehall this morning as the Queen and members of the Royal family joined officials to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. A highlight of the day each November is viewing the march past by thousand of veterans. Sadly, that wasn't possible this year, with fewer than thirty invited in keeping with social-distance restrictions.


More from the BBC's Jonny Dymond:
'Missing were the members of the public who normally travel from all over the country to be here, who stand three or four-deep along the barriers that line either side of Whitehall.

Missing too were the great number of military veterans who march past the Cenotaph after the wreath-laying. The public and the veterans bring life to this commemoration of loss - they ground this remembrance and make it more personal, more sharply felt.

Remembrance Sunday belongs to those who gave - their lives, their health, their loved ones. Everyone here in Whitehall will hope that next year will see the public and military veterans return.'

 The Duchess of Cambridge joined the Duchess of Cornwall on a balcony this year.

Her Majesty on the balcony. "May the memory of their sacrifice and bravery remain with us always."

The Prince of Wales laid a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty before laying his own.

Prince William, wearing his RAF uniform, laid a wreath.

Anne, Princess Royal.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne's husband.

The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall is a unique expression of homage devoted to the memory of those who have given their lives in war.

It was originally conceived as a commemoration of the First World War's dead by King George V in 1919, but after the Second World War the scope of the ceremony was extended to focus on the dead of both wars. Remembrance Day or Memorial Day is observed in Commonwealth countries.

As the clock struck eleven, a two-minute silence was observed. The silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent.

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired the minute gun to mark the start of the two minute silence.

The small group of veterans present was comprised of men and women from the Royal Air Force, Royal Marines the Army and Royal Navy.

The Massed Bands and the Guard Division and the Pipes and Drums played a selection of music throughout.

Members of the Chelsea Pensioners from Royal Chelsea Hospital.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "We come together every November to commemorate the servicemen and women from Britain and the Commonwealth who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. In this time of adversity, no virus can stop us from honouring their memory, particularly when we have just celebrated the 75th anniversary of victory in the Second World War."

The Royal British Legion encouraged people to stand on their doorsteps to mark a two-minute silence - reminiscent of the weekly Clap for Carers, which saw tens of thousands -- if not significantly more -- honour frontline workers. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said, "It is with a heavy heart that I must ask people not to attend the ceremony at the Cenotaph this year in order to keep veterans and the public safe."

We also saw significant changes to the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, which aired on the BBC last night.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall represented the Royal family at the event which was recorded without an audience. The Duchess commended nurses, saying, "You have been at the very epicentre of the nation’s response to the pandemic, providing a critical line of defence with compassion and dignity, and bringing hope and healing to so many."

Prince Charles paid a poignant tribute to the Armed Forces, saying, "In this challenging year, we have perhaps come to realise that the freedoms for which they fought for us are more precious than we knew, and that the debt we owe them is even greater than we imagined."

Additionally, the Queen paid a private visit to Westminster Abbey earlier this week to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior. 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."

Due to the pandemic, it's been incredibly difficult for the Royal British Legion to raise much-needed funds via their annual Poppy Appeal. If you would like to support their vital work, you can leave a tribute in their virtual Field of Remembrance and donate. Scrolling through the virtual field and reading the messages was both a moving and a powerful reminder of the significance of the day.

The Duchess selected a bespoke black military coat with a high collar and tassel shoulder detail by Catherine Walker (with thanks to Middleton Maven). The piece has notable similarities to several custom made Catherine Walker styles the Duchess has worn. It's a beautifully crafted and tailored piece.

Kate's hat is a timeless design by Philip Treacy.

The Duchess accessorised with the Queen's diamond and pearl earrings. We've seen Kate wearing them on several occasions over the past several years. Her Majesty wore them back in 1977 during her silver jubilee.

The Duchess wore three poppies on her lapel. Whilst the reason has not been confirmed by the Palace, Kate's great-grandmother's three brothers were killed during the First World War.

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them."

On Wednesday, a special service will be held at Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior. I think it likely we'll see the Cambridges there with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

46 comments:

  1. Certainly not the important aspect of the day, but the shoulders on that coat are just awful! The rest is good, but the tassels make it look like a bad costume :(

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    1. And yet this is the only comment you make about the day

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    2. Caroline in Montana9 November 2020 at 21:22

      I am also not a big fan of the tassels. and i also believe we all have a right to our opinions and comments.

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  2. Thank you Charlotte. It is so nice to see the royal family joining together for this important event. As it is so special to the queen, I admire the other family members for supporting her. All of the ladies look very fashionable and sincere.

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  3. Zora from Prague8 November 2020 at 16:21

    Thank you so much for this post, Charlotte. It was very moving to see Her Majesty in the empty Westminster Abbey, unwavering in honouring the fallen soldiers, led by her enormous sense of duty.
    I'm so grateful and glad that the Cambridges took part in the Cenotaph ceremony, alongside other members of the RF.
    Kate looked perfect!

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    1. Zora from Prague8 November 2020 at 20:07

      PS: Both Charles and Camilla gave very good speeches. I watched the videos only later and I really appreciated their words.

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  4. I hope we will see them in Wednesday. The duchess clothes seems like a continuation of last year theme with tassel and a variation of the same beret. That give her some dramatic period film aura.Like you Cahrlotte, I think her coat is Catherine Walker.Her 2017 appearance for this event will stay inégalable for me.Hope the covid will be memory next year by this time🙏.I will pray for that.

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  5. Kate is a rock. Absolutely regal.

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  6. Big difference in ceremony during times of a pandemic, but lovely still and not even a deadly virus is able to detract from the somber beauty of the tribute. Kate has fully become a royal - composed, dignified, classy, displaying duty to country, service & the queen. William & Kate took their time in making the decision to share their lives, and it has paid off. Kate has grown into her role beautifully. It's a pleasure to see her growing confidence with each passing year. Love her look - polish, understated, and respectful. She's a winner and so happy she's a member of the royal family. Thanks for an informative post. Be safe everyone.

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    1. Well said Madaliene USA. A lovely tribute and Kate is, as always, very regal and quite poised.

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    2. Totally agree with everything you said Madaliene! It has been a beautiful evolution.

      I absolutely adore this military look on her - the shape of the hat really softens it. She is perfection today.

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  7. Kate looks absolutely beautiful and completely regal. Though this is undoubtedly a sad occasion, the sight of our elegant princess cheered me up!

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  8. Kate's coat is beautiful! The fringe at the shoulders is executed so perfectly.

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  9. I absolutely love this military coat with the high collar and tassel detail. Gorgeous 👍🏻

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  10. I am glad to see Kate's new outfit, since we've been looking forward to seeing her out and about. It is perfectly appropriate and very fashionable. It looks like the other ladies also have new outfits. Also, I think Charlotte has already asked us to refrain from talking about masks. It looks like they are observing all guidelines.

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    1. I know that we aren't suppose to talk about masks, but there are some pictures online of William and Kate in their car wearing masks either to or from the ceremony, and Kate has on a very attractive black one. It is yet another one from Amaia's Adult Mask collection and seems to be a new addition. Looks good. :)

      https://www.amaiakids.co.uk/collections/adult-masks/products/adult-reusable-cotton-face-mask-balck-plumetti?variant=33085577756754.

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  11. Valerie in Arizona8 November 2020 at 20:20

    After this terribly exhausting week over here in the U.S. and the polarizing results, I will continue to read your lovely blog, Charlotte, and a few other uplifting ones and, since there is no other way to tell you that I appreciate the work people put into blogs, leave a short comment. Otherwise I am done with anonymous social media. Since so much of what Kate does is "of good report" (see Philippians 4:8: "Finally, . . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice.") I am happy to continue to read about. What I don't want to read is petty, negative stuff from people I don't know. I can go to mainstream media if I want any real news or opinions. I confess I have fallen into this social media trap during the pandemic but I had an epiphany this morning. It's time to get out.

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    1. Thank you Valerie for sharing Philippians 4:8, it seems very fitting for the tone of everything right now. We need these reminders. I share you concern about petty, negative comments, we have certainly had our fill of them, and that type of energy is not good for our mental health. This blog has certainly become a safe haven for many of us who strive to keep our positive outlooks on the works of the BRF, and particularly of our dear Duchess Catherine. Charlotte certainly sets the tone and the effort is very much recognized and appreciated.

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  12. This is my favorite ceremony; I admire England for honoring those who died for their country with such solemn grace.

    All the ladies looked good and I love the coat Kate wore.

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    1. Theresa New York9 November 2020 at 13:38

      So do I. I was especially touched by England's remembrance of the WWI fallen as my father and my husband's father fought in the war. They were fortunate to come home.

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  13. An always beautiful and meaningful ceremony. Wonderfully conducted under the current situation of restrictions. Loved Kate's new coat. Her hat is gorgeous. She looked beautiful.

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  14. Great turnout from the RF. Everyone looks very regal. More important is not to forget their gift of Freedom to the Country. All give some. Some give ALL. God bless them and Thank you.

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  15. A very sombre day. We must never forget the sacrifice made for us. Thank you for sharing the video of the Queen. For a small lady, she has a huge presence. The Duchess looks very stylish.... Maybe try the jacket with or without the fringing. The Queens earings are perfect on her. I know she's being slowly growing into her royal role, but she's changed a lot recently. Her confidence and definitely very regal. Off subject, but on a day to remember. My thoughts were with the two Princes and their mother. That "interview" Diana gave changed their lives. Her Majesty was right.. Dark forces were at work. Charlotte thanks for the update and videos.

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  16. Honestly, I love this look. It is amazingly regal. It's not an outfit to wear anywhere else, but this is a military occasion. It is appropriate and the tailoring and effect are perfect.

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    1. I absolutely agree with you Sarah, think that the military style is quite regal and very fitting for this tribute. The excellent tailoring only adds to Kate's very royal presence. What a lovely event for the royals, and as always the traditions that the UK upholds are heartwarming and very moving. The Queen is absolutely amazing and has set the bar very high with her unwavering commitment and service, it is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing Charlotte.

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  17. Always a very moving event. I bought a poppy from a veteran yesterday so proud of all they have done for our countries. Kate looks beautiful I love the coat except for the fringe tassel this is where sometimes her choice in outfit makes it look like a costume. Sue in Oz🇦🇺

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    1. I think the fringe tassel gives the coat a little bit of interest. But as another commenter said, it is not a coat to wear anywhere else. Without the fringe, it is a beautifully tailored coat, that can be used again.

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  18. Beautiful event for the Royal Family.

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    1. Yes Tedi it is, I've read through Charlotte's post twice already. Even the smaller size can't take away from the beauty of the tribute, somehow it seems even more moving. cc

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    2. Zora from Prague9 November 2020 at 19:33

      Ditto Tedi and CeCe! 🍂🌺

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  19. WWD has said Catherine's coat is by McQueen.

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  20. I think they found a good way to go on about it in the Pandemic. Interestingly, you almost can’t tell about the changes from the photos. They could have been from the other years if you concentrate only on the shot. Obviously the photos of the crowds are missing, but the ones we got blend in perfectly.
    I really like Kate‘s outfit this time. It looks sharp, shows military style features but is not as costumes as her outfits in 2018 and 2019. The whole big shiny buttons started already in 2017. I wonder why she started this military fashion though. The outfits look very cool but I find them almost a bit inappropriate. Kate never was in active service. Kate doesn’t hold any military title, not even an honorary one. Military uniforms and their features are more than edgy fashion. If you don’t have the right to wear it, don’t go for a weak copy. Just wearing a beautiful black outfit is perfectly fine (I loved 2014 for that matter). I am torn. The outfits are something else. But they also make her look really hard and you would expect her to climb on the horse and ride her army into battle every second. It just doesn’t fit the reality of her position and life.
    I am not sure about the meaning of the three poppies. Kate has been wearing different amounts over the years. 3x1 (2012, 2013, 2014), 2x2 (2011, 2019), 5x3 (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020). So either her three relatives weren’t thought about then, or they weren’t important last year? I don’t think she even knew her great grandmother and chances are her family has lost more than just three men in two World Wars. People wearing more than one poppy usually do so for the eye catcher. And most people stick to the one. Because, the majority has lost more than one relative to wars. I actually think it’s much more of a fashion decision. And why not. Not everything has to be loaded up with more and more meaning. As if Remembrance Sunday isn’t loaded enough. If Kate would truly remember her own relatives she would have to bring the same amount out every year. But who knows. I could very well be wrong.
    C.

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    1. I agree C, I have always taken the three poppies for her three relatives with a pinch of salt. My mom always said when it comes to flowers you always use odde numbers, because even numbers always form little groups. So her options is one (might not be visible from a distance) or 3 or 5 - seven will be overkill. So she goes with 3 or with 5 depending what fits her coat.
      As you say, wearing a poppy already carries a lot of meaning, there doesn’t need to be more behind it.

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    2. It seems I have forgotten that she is indeed at least the Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets. But to my knowledge she isn't pulling that much weight into the position and as I said earlier- I think military work is neither her interest nor a good fit. The BRF will have to put some thinking in how they fill those positions. There aren't many young (if you will call people over 30 that) royals left that are good candidates. It is the same as with the numbers of patronages. I guess they need to drastically reduce those positions and have a rota system to make sure they all get in from time to time. I don't the the York sister stepping up more than to what they are involved in now. That might be even more true for the Wessex or PA's children. Charles and Wiliam should set their eyes on the youngest generation when they implement changes. It will be intersting how the Cambridge children will get involved when they are older. Will all three have at least a military basic training? Who knows, maybe Charlotte will step into her great aunt's footsteps, or one of the boys? Princess Anne is formidable, albeit sometimes prickly, character.
      C.

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  21. Susan in Florida9 November 2020 at 04:42

    I learned today that if you have a poppy with a leaf, the leaf should be worn in the 11 o’clock position on your right shoulder. This is always a moving ceremony. It holds more weight to me reflecting in this pandemic on how many suffered or died from their flu pandemic.

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  22. So moved by Prince Charles' reflection on how this year has reinforced how precious are the the freedoms our veterans fought for...

    And of course, it's lovely to see Duchess Catherine looking so regal in that beautifully tailored coat.

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  23. beautiful event for royal family i love the duchess cambridge looks amazing i always love the service they are truely honoring the veterns

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  24. Thank you Charlotte for this piece. Never more so than this year did we need to come together (consciously rather than physically !) and remember all those that gave so much. Today was about that ! I was relieved to see that all parties involved in today, made this happen. Every year is poignant, but this year felt even more so.
    All the royal ladies looked lovely. But, Kate certainly brought her A game ! Everything about the look, for me was spot on. I like the idea, that she tries to bring something different to her look, year on year, it shows thought and consideration, which simplifies who Kate is !
    Bel

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  25. Charlotte. One of the readers and someone that posted at times lost her life yesterday from COVID-19. Just wanted to keep her daughter in your prayers. Her name is Robin Stewart. And her daughter is Beth Stewart..😢😢😢🧐

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    1. Pauline, I am truly sorry to hear Robin passed away. She was incredibly kind and an important member of the community especially in the first years of this blog. I know she was a dear and much loved friend to you and many others. Please pass my condolences to Beth if you can.

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  26. A better lip-reader may correct me, but it seemed that the Duchess of Cambridge sang "our" in the last line of the National Anthem. Rather sweet. Quite a lot of people do it, I should add.

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  27. Regal and beautiful. As usual Catherine is a confidant , caring, compassionate , modern Duchess. She amazes me that she can be a Senior Royal with ease, a wonderful laidback mother and of course a wonderful supporting wife. 💕

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  28. My attempts to add my thoughts about Robin keep vanishing. Not sure what the problem is.

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  29. Hello,

    This is the first comment I've seen from you. If it fails to come through again please send it to me at hrhcatherineblog@hotmail.com and I'll add it immediately.

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  30. Regardless of posts, I think those who pray will think of that lady Robin. I pray for all those affected by this sickness, and those who died alone. Unfortunately this virus is our war. We will remember but will see an end to this.

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  31. Stunning. She always looks so appropriate.

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