12 November 2023

King leads Remembrance Sunday service at Cenotaph

12 November 2023

The nation fell silent on Sunday to honour those who died in conflict as the King led a moving Remembrance Day service.

A two-minute silence took place across the UK at 11am.

Wreaths were laid by members of the royal family, senior politicians and dignitaries at the Cenotaph in London, where a major policing operation remains in place after more than 120 arrests were made – mostly of far-right counter-protesters – as a pro-Palestinian march was held on Armistice Day.

Charles led the country at the Whitehall memorial in commemorating the end of the First World War and other conflicts involving British and Commonwealth forces.

Wearing the uniform of the Marshal of the Royal Air Force with greatcoat, poppy and sword, the King laid a wreath similar to the one produced for King George VI.

The wreath featured 41 open style poppy petals made from bonded fabric.

It was mounted on an arrangement of black leaves – traditional for sovereign’s wreaths – of 27-inch diameter ribbon and bow using the colours from the King’s racing silk – scarlet, purple and gold.

The Prince of Wales also laid a wreath, as did the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other senior politicians.

Major Ollie Plunket of The Rifles, equerry to Camilla, laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen, who was watching from a balcony with the Princess of Wales.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen’s wreath closely resembled the one produced for the Queen Mother.

Almost 10,000 veterans and 800 armed forces personnel from all three services were then due to take part in a march-past.

Among those marching are nuclear test veterans, who for the first time will wear a medal acknowledging their contribution.

After 70 years of waiting for recognition, those exposed to the effects of nuclear bombs during the UK’s testing programme were given a medal, depicting an atom surrounded by olive branches, for the Remembrance Sunday service.

More than 300 armed forces and civilian organisations are represented, as well as 300 veterans not affiliated with an association who have been invited to join for the first time.

Recent events have served as a stark reminder that we cannot take the hard-earned peace we live in for granted

Mr Sunak said: “The courage and commitment shown by our servicemen and women, both today and throughout the generations that came before them, is humbling and I know many across the country will be honouring their memory today in quiet reflection.

“Recent events have served as a stark reminder that we cannot take the hard-earned peace we live in for granted, which is why I am honoured to lay a wreath on behalf of the nation in the memory of all those that have lost their lives defending our country and the values we hold so close.

“I am determined to ensure we never forget the ultimate sacrifice they have made.”

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