Queen Camilla opens 95th year Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey ahead of Armistice Day
- Camilla opted for sombre dark green and black tones as she bowed her head
- READ MORE: Charles cracks a joke as he’s presented with an early birthday present of kimchi
The Queen has paid tribute to fallen soldiers in a poignant ceremony at Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance.
Camilla, 76, opted for sombre dark green and black tones as she bowed her head in respect ahead of Armistice Day on Saturday.
Following prayers led by Dean of Westminster the Very Rev Dr David Hoyle and the Right Rev Anthony Ball, rector of St Margaret’s Church, the Queen placed a small wooden cross adorned with a red poppy into a larger cross made from the flowers forever associated with the First World War.
After placing the cross down, Camilla and hundreds of veterans fell silent at 11am as the chimes of Big Ben rang out.
Her Majesty paid tribute and recognised the sacrifices of those who fought and died for their country in her first visit to the abbey since the coronation.
The Queen has paid tribute to fallen soldiers in a poignant ceremony at Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance
Camilla, 76, opted for sombre dark green and black tones as she bowed her head in respect ahead of Armistice Day on Saturday
In her second time attending as Queen, the royal laid a cross down on a wreath as she met with soldiers
The Queen stopped to pet a dog after the ceremony
After observing a two-minute silence, the Queen met minister for veterans’ affairs Johnny Mercer, as well as staff and supporters of the Poppy Factory, which organises all the memorial plots at the abbey.
Around 40,000 tributes, including symbols of all faiths, were laid out by volunteers in more than 300 plots in the grounds of Westminster Abbey ahead of the ceremony, as veterans and guests came together to remember fallen comrades and loved ones.
Camilla, wearing a green Rifles coat designed by Fiona Clare paired with a cape from Amanda Wakeley, then moved through crowds stopping to observe plots and speaking to representatives.
She moved around the Field of Remembrance and chatted to the veterans, quizzing them about their plots and thanking them for their service.
Ex-service men and women, as well as members of the public, can plant a cross carrying a personal message in memory of those who have lost their lives in the service of others.
Amanda Shepard, chief executive of the Poppy Factory, said: ‘It was a great honour to have Her Majesty The Queen attend the Field of Remembrance once again, 95 years since a group of veterans from our factory first planted poppies in the grounds of Westminster Abbey.
‘Their intention was to publicly honour those who have given their lives in the service of others. It is vital that we continue to do so, and to offer an opportunity for people of all faiths and none to place their own personal tributes.
‘We are very grateful to Her Majesty for attending today, and for her longstanding and continued support for our charity as we work to help more members of the armed forces community overcome barriers and move forward towards a more positive future through employment.’
Camilla looked sombre as she looked on
The Queen bowed her head to pay tribute
Around 70,000 crosses and other symbols are laid out in 308 plots according to regiment, unit or association, all planted in the grass by volunteers
The Queen opted for a sombre green and black look today
From just two crosses, laid during the first event at the Abbey in November 1928, the Field of Remembrance is now covered with around 70,000 symbols in more than 360 plots for regimental and other associations
Ex-service men and women, as well as members of the public, can plant a cross carrying a personal message in memory of those who have lost their lives in the service of others
Camilla’s appearance comes as Harry and Meghan both wore poppies as they visited United States Navy SEALs in San Diego last night and watched as someone else cut the ribbon on a new fitness centre for veterans.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the Navy SEAL Foundation for the official opening of a new training base, known as the ‘West Coast Warrior Fitness Programme’ facility, ahead of Veterans Day on November 11.
Meghan ushered Harry forwards but stood in front of her husband before they watched as Foundation CEO Robin King cut the ribbon – with the Duchess waving to the small crowd before the couple entered the building for a tour without saying any words.
Earlier in the day the Duchess of Sussex also wore a $1,490 Carolina Herrera cardigan, embroidered with poppies – the symbol of remembrance for all those who lost their lives on active service, from the beginning of the First World War right up to present day.
The couple were meeting veterans, servicemen and women and and their loved-ones at Camp Pendleton.
The Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey officially opened to the public today.
The Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey officially opened to the public today.
More than 1,000 veterans gathered in the grounds of Westminster Abbey for the short ceremony, observing a two-minute silence as Big Ben chimed to mark 11am, to remember those who have lost their lives in service
More than 1,000 veterans gathered in the grounds of Westminster Abbey for the short ceremony, observing a two-minute silence as Big Ben chimed to mark 11am, to remember those who have lost their lives in service.
It comes ahead of Armistice Day on Saturday, and Remembrance Day services over the weekend, with the royals set to mark the occasion in various services.
Camilla’s appearance comes as the King discussed the need to make refugees ‘feel more welcome’ in Britain at a humanitarian reception, Sir Michal Palin has said.
The Monty Python star, 80, spoke to Charles on Wednesday evening at the Buckingham Palace event which recognised the United Kingdom’s contribution to humanitarian efforts across the world.
Charles and the Queen were introduced to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) chief executive Saleh Saeed at the soiree, which was also attended by the Duke of Gloucester.
They met stars including actors such as Sir Michael, Dame Joanna Lumley and Adrian Lester, who have launched appeals for the DEC charity, which is marking its 60th anniversary year.
The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds at times of crisis overseas.
Actor and comedian Sir Michael told the PA news agency: ‘I’m very proud to be here and very glad to be associated with something which I think is one of the best indications of British generosity which are the appeals that I’ve had the good fortune to deliver on certain occasions. I think humanitarian spirit is something which is in all of us.’
The Queen greeted members of the public after the event
Keeping warm in a black hat, Her Majesty greeted veterans
Celebrity guest Lizzie Cundy paid tribute
On what he spoke to Charles about, he said: ‘He asked what I was doing and was talking about refugees actually and the refugee problem and trying to find a way of absorbing refugees into the country and using their talents.
‘Trying to find a way of, sort of, using the best talents of refugees who have come to this country, and this is something I totally agree with.
‘He’s travelled the world a lot, I’ve travelled the world a lot.
‘We know that a lot of people who come here see Britain as a safe place but also a hopeful place and I think to get rejected here, it’s difficult, I mean, I know the problems of getting a number of refugees into the country but that was clearly his idea that this was what we should be doing, making them more welcome.’
On the humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, he added: ‘It makes me feel horribly depressed really because when people set out to kill and slaughter others I just find there can be no justification for that on either side. And I don’t know how you stop it once it starts, war is pretty horrible.
For 75 years, North Green outside Westminster Abbey has been offered as a location for poppies to be laid to remember those involved in conflict. The Queen is pictured
The Queen met with solidiers after the service
‘Also we’ve got disasters like the Turkish earthquake and again lots and lots of people suddenly homeless… We are very, very lucky to have so much.’
The DEC has said it is ‘deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of civilians caught up in the deadly intensification of violence in Israel and Gaza’ and is ‘closely monitoring the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and assessing it against our criteria for launching a DEC appeal.’
Over the past 60 years, the UK public has donated some £2.4 billion to its 77 national appeals.
The reception was planned months ago and it is understood that Charles has made a donation to the British Red Cross charity, which he is president of.
Charles and Camilla also meet refugees who have made the UK their home and spoke with broadcast journalists about their work covering global emergencies, including in the Middle East and Ukraine.
In the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace, Charles and Camila viewed displays from the DEC, Turquoise Mountain and ShelterBox, and met people involved with the organisations.
Charles founded Turquoise Mountain as the Prince of Wales in 2006. It aims to support artisans as they revitalise their heritage in Afghanistan, Myanmar and across the Middle East.
ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides emergency shelter and essential aid items to people around the world who have lost their homes to disaster, conflict, or the climate crisis.
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