Remembrance Day services were scaled-down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic this year, but Kate Middleton and Prince William made sure to connect with those serving in the armed forces.
On Monday — one day after the couple attended the socially distant Remembrance Sunday ceremony in London alongside Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — Kate spoke to armed forces families who had lost loved ones via video chat. She learned about how they remembered those who died in service and the support they've received from members of the community as well as the Royal British Legion. The Legion provides lifelong support to anyone who has served with the British Armed Forces and their families, including helping with funeral costs, mental health support and counseling.
Kate wore a black and white top adorned with a poppy pin for the virtual meeting with Chantelle Wynn, Serena Alexander, Charlton Taylor and Sonia Fleming. The red flowers have been worn since 1921 to commemorate military members who lost their lives to war.
"It's been a real honor to speak to all of you, and I think I speak for the whole nation when I say just how proud you should be of your loved ones, and for the sacrifice and the bravery that they’ve shown," Kate said. "I'll certainly be thinking of you this difficult week and will be for many years to come."
Prince William, who served as a pilot with the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force, spoke to deployed representatives from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force on Thursday to hear how about the important role that Remembrance Day plays in their lives. They spoke about being stationed overseas in order to protect communities across the globe and promote the interests of the U.K. abroad.
"I hope that you know that we are still thinking about all of you and the important job you’re all doing and that everyone is very grateful," William told Flight Sergeant Gemma Thomson, Leading Physical Instructor Damon Bell and Corporal Jiwan Kumar Thapa. "I hope that over Remembrance Sunday we can remind people just how committed and determined, and how brilliant all the people we have in the Forces are around the world."
Kate and William, both 38, helped support Queen Elizabeth as the royal family paid tribute to fallen servicemen and women in a solemn Remembrance Day ceremony in London on Sunday.
Kate joined Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and other members of the family on a balcony close to the Queen, 94, as floral wreaths were laid by Prince William, Prince Charles and others in the annual service.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, members of the public and military families who would normally pack the sidewalks of Whitehall were not in attendance. However, the royals were determined to go ahead with the scaled-down event, along with senior politicians, to show their respect.
Also in attendance was Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne's husband, who stood at another balcony window.
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Usually, about 10,000 people usually gather at the Cenotaph each year for the service and the two-minute silence that takes place at 11 a.m. The march-past by veterans was also canceled, but around 30 veterans were invited to the service in a socially-distanced COVID-safe environment.
It is also the 100th anniversary of the stone memorial that stands just yards from the Houses of Parliament in the heart of Westminster. Apart from the dates of the two world wars, the monument is inscribed with three poignantly simple words: The Glorious Dead.
Across the pond, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marked Remembrance Day by visiting the Los Angeles National Cemetery. The couple laid flowers that Meghan, 39, picked from their garden at the gravesites of two commonwealth soldiers, one who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force and one from the Royal Canadian Artillery.
Harry, 36, also placed a wreath at an obelisk in the cemetery that features a plaque that's inscribed, "In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives in Defense of Their Country."
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