Saturday, 13 November 2021

The Royals Gather for the Festival of Remembrance

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined a host of royals for the annual Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall.

The Duke and Duchess arriving.

In the week of Remembrance, members of the Royal family, join the nation in commemorating and honouring people who have sacrificed themselves in service to our country. Yesterday, Kensington Palace shared a video of Kate hosting a conversation spanning generations at Royal Hospital Chelsea with Italy Star Veteran Colonel David Blum OBE and ten-year-old cub scout Emily Edge. The trio discussed the importance of remembrance. Afterwards Kate tweeted: "It was a true honour to spend time with Colonel Blum and thank him for the sacrifices he made for our country. Speaking to him highlighted again to me why Remembrance is so important, and why we must pay our gratitude to those who fought and died so we could live in peace today. We must keep their stories alive for generations to come.

The royals were welcomed by Mr Ian McCulloch, President of the Royal Albert Hall, and Lieutenant General James Bashall, President of the Royal British Legion.

On medical advice, Her Majesty was advised not to attend tonight. The monarch has been undertaking engagements such as Zoom calls and meetings, but she has not been cleared for a return to public engagements. The Queen will make one exception tomorrow, however, for Remembrance Sunday, a date described as "unmissable" and "one of her most sacred duties". The Queen has been patron of the Royal British Legion since 1952, only missing two festivals before this evening in the decades since taking the role. Below, HM arriving for the event in 2018.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the Royal family this evening. Other members in attendance included the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.

The Duchess greets Prince Charles.

Clarence House said: "The festival honours the Armed Forces community for their service and sacrifice in defending our freedoms and way of life, and commemorates all those who have lost their lives in conflicts. This year’s event marks the centenary of the Royal British Legion and reflects on the different ways the charity has supported the Armed Forces community. The festival will also commemorate 100 years of the poppy as the symbol of remembrance. The 30th anniversary of Operation Granby, the largest deployment of UK Forces since the Second World War, will be remembered, and the programme will pay tribute to currently serving members of the Armed Forces who were deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Pitting."

The Royal British Legion's annual festival commemorates those who have lost their lives in service of their country. It takes place on the eve of Remembrance Sunday, with two performances on the day -- a matinée open to members of the public, and an evening event for members of the Legion, their families, officials and royals.

100 Royal British Legion volunteers and staff unite to celebrate the centenary.

The Chelsea Pensioners enter to the sound of 'The Boys of the Old Brigade'.

Performers included Alfie Boe, Cynthia Erivo, Gregory Porter and Alexandra Burke (singing Abide With Me below).

Below, Ramin Karimloo perform "You'll Never Walk Alone".

Members of the navy take to the stage.

The very first ‘Festival of Remembrance’ was called In Memory 1914-1918 -- A Cenotaph in Sound, in aid of the British Legion, Field Marshal Earl Haig’s Appeal for Ex-Service Men of all Ranks', and was held on 11 November 1923. A royal delegation including HRH the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII, and after his abdication styled the Duke of Windsor) 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'.

In honour of the event, the Royal Albert Hall was lit red.

The Royal Albert Hall shared this poignant image on Thursday to mark Remembrance Day.

To mark their centenary and the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal for 2021, 40,000 collectors have spent time on the streets after a particularly difficult year due to the pandemic. The team has been at supermarkets Tesco, Aldi, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda, to name a few. One of the many familiar faces is 82-year-old Vera Parnaby. Known locally as ‘Mrs Poppy’, she has raised well in excess of £1m for the Poppy Appeal during 75 years of dedication to the Armed Forces community.

If you would like to support the appeal, please click here.

The Duchess donned her Eponine London bouclé dress for the evening.

Kate debuted the piece last year for a performance of Dear Evan Hansen, which was held in aid of the Royal Foundation. The dress features a pointed collar and pleated skirt, and comes from Eponine London's Autumn/Winter 2018 Collection.

The womenswear brand is inspired by the timeless lines of the fifties and sixties. Founded by designer Jet Shenkman, Eponine was born from her passion for clothes with a unique, relaxed silhouette. Jet’s years of styling experience have equipped her with an expert eye for precision and an innate understanding of the female form. Every garment is designed and made in London for women who seek out individuality and who desire to be both chic and contemporary.

Kate's piece is bespoke with different buttons.

The Duchess wore black pumps.

Kate carried her black velvet embellished Alexander McQueen clutch.

The Duchess wore the £45 Three Poppies Crystal Gold Plated Brooch from the Royal British Legion (with thanks to UFO No More). 

The Duchess accessorised with the late Princess Diana's Collingwood Pearl earrings.

And Diana's Triple Pearl and Diamond Spacer bracelet. Diana wore the elegant piece on a number of occasions -- most memorably with her Catherine Walker 'Elvis' outfit and Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara. The bracelet features very distinctive 'spacers'. Kate's worn the piece a number of times.

Embed from Getty Images

I'll see you tomorrow for Remembrance Sunday. 


  1. The Duchess looks really lovely tonight at this event, I am so glad she repeated this outfit, its a gorgeous, sedate dress. Her accessories, shoes and clutch are on point. She looks dignified and regal, appropriately groomed. I love the triple strand pearl bracelet and pearl earrings, so elegant, its fabulous to see her wearing them.

    1. I was happy to see Her Majesty in attendance. She's a great lady.

    2. @Ava Lee - agree with you! A REPEAT so happy to see (especially given the new outfit yesterday which was also perfect for a repeat). Her Red Clutch would have brightened up the outfit but agree she looks dignified and regal. Happy to see the pearl accessories that belonged to Princess Di and the new 'triple' poppy pin.

      I read that Kate replaced the buttons from the Crown style (which Charlotte captured in the close up photo) to rhinestone buttons. Wish we could see what they look like up close but that would be tricky.

    3. Hello Elle, I added a better shot of the buttons :)

    4. :-) thank you Charlotte! Much appreciated - I was curious. I remember when she first wore this dress and there were comments about "why she chose those shoes and clutch?" Now it makes a little more sense given the change of the buttons.

  2. Hello,

    It's a photo of the Queen from 2018. We do expect to see her tomorrow though :)

  3. Beautiful Kate - so lucky to have her

  4. Watching the concert on BBC. Its always a great show but rather sad. Also very sad not to see the Queen there. I suppose its a good thing that she is taking things easy. The last year has definitely taken a toll on her. The Duchess looks beautiful tonight. Considering it was a night of remembering, very nice touch to see that all her jeweller was from Diana. The brooch is lovely and it's a very good cause. I've always wondered in over 100 years, why no royal has commissioned a Ruby brooch. Looking forward to seeing the Queen tomorrow. Hopefully well and rested. S. ☺

    1. That should of read, a Ruby poppy brooch. S. ☺

  5. Charlotte thank you for all the informative post and thoughtful extras you include, especially Mrs. Poppy. Lovely event and so glad it is well-represented this year.

    I am glad to see a repeat and actually thought this dress might be an option. It’s always frustrating because so few good photos are released from this event. I think Kate looks very nice and I like the jewelry selected. It’s hard to tell with this dress, but it’s one that I’m not sure I’m sold on the length of sleeves- I might prefer them just a bit longer. I’m also not sure where the bodice ends and skirt starts- maybe a little high? I’d like to see more photos of it and see it with movement. I’m certainly no tailor though! Sue

  6. Kate has worn just a few bouclé outfits but they always look really good on her. Love the buttons. Has she worn those earrings from Diana before? I like them.

    1. @Allison - many times. Like Di, she's paired them a few times with the Cambridge Tiara. And then she's worn them at a Garter Day, Garden Party, and Archie's christening. I think Kate really feels fondly of these earrings - and they are lovely.

  7. The picture shows Prince & Princess Michael of Kent, not the Duke & Princess Alexandra. Not sure if they were there and not in the picture or someone made an error. (I know the Wessex's were there and not in the photo.)

    I think Kate looked lovely and appropriate, but I'm still not sold on that length dress.

    1. Late post.

      In some ways, I was happy to see this rewear, because it’s a lovely fabric and how can you not like sparkly buttons. Unfortunately, that length is very unflattering on her. It makes the long and lean Catherine look short and dumpy. I don’t really love this tea length anyway, but I don’t usually notice how much the style throws off her proportions. Maybe the “hey, where did her legs go?” optics comes from either the thickness of the fabric or the tailoring if the top half.

  8. What a lovely ceremony! The texture of the coat dress is very nice for the occasion! All the ladies looked lovely!

  9. Tammy from California14 November 2021 at 01:52

    Charlotte, so glad you put in a picture of the poppy pin, I was wondering what pin she was wearing.

    For English friends here, I have a question: does everyone celebrate Remembrance Days and all the fanfair that goes with it?

    1. One person can’t really comment for the whole country but I believe a lot of people do. However, it’s not about celebrating or lots of fanfair - it’s about remembrance

  10. wow hoe glad too see the whole family during remembrance day the duke and duchess looks lovely thought

  11. Lovely post, Charlotte. I really enjoyed reading about Vera's 75 years of service to the Armed Forces community; amazing!
    What a beautiful concert & so nice to see such a good turn out. It's a shame the Queen wasn't there, but I'm pleased that we'll be seeing her tomorrow :)
    I'm happy to see Kate repeat this outfit - I prefer it much better this time around with the pearl and black accessories than when she wore it with the sparkly shoes and clutch. Didn't her hair look fantastic on the first outing, though!

    1. I wish she had her hair just like on that first outing. This looks a bit boring, almost like it wasn't styled at all (I know it was, but there's something missing).

  12. Beautiful Kate! It's good to see the RF members reunited to celebrate such a great event. It's unfortunate the Queen couldn't attend, but hopefully she will be at the Cenotaph.
    Kate is beautiful with this style..dress, accessories, makeup, hairstyle... Elegant and appropriate style, as always!
    Charlotte please, can you put images of her 'Remembrance outfits' from previous years?

  13. PP above expressed surprise no royal has commissioned a Ruby poppy broach. I think it's because they get their broaches from the Royal British Legion itself (the charity linked most strongly to Remembrance Day). So buying their broaches is a signal of support and encourages others to follow suit.

    PP question about whether all Brits celebrate the day and all the fanfare that goes with it. My answer:no, not all but quite a lot. It's not usually 'celebrated' as such but many people mark the day. Most through wearing a poppy, laying/seeing a wreath (there are big stone memorials to soldiers lost in WWI, WWII and since in just about all cities, towns and even villages), or there is often a solemn march that takes place. E.g. I have this year worn a poppy, and will see a march in my insignificant little seaside town later today. Over the next week I will regularly walk past two war memorials which will have lots of poppy wreaths on them (one near my home and one near my work). So I wouldn't say I celebrate it but it is there in the background acting as a prompt to remember.

    Finally, I really like what the DoCam is wearing.

  14. Kate looks perfect!! Thank you for the lovely post, Charlotte.

  15. Valerie in Arizona14 November 2021 at 14:06

    In one of the photos of the Royal Box, there’s a young boy standing on the leftmost corner. I was wondering if it was Viscount Severn? Although I think the Wessexes are sitting on the opposite side.

  16. Thanks , Charlotte for the history of the poppies and the concert.

  17. What a nice gathering. The Queen looks great as always so did the other RL.

  18. Love the dress. Very appropriate and the silhouette really suits her.


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