Remembrance Sunday: Prince Charles Leads Tributes To War Dead

The nation fell silent at 11am as people across the country reflected on the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers on Remembrance Sunday.

The Prince of Wales laid the first of many wreaths at the Cenotaph in a scene repeated at war memorials around the country.

The Queen had asked Charles to lay her wreath at the Whitehall memorial, in what is believed to be the first time the monarch has broken with tradition and not performed the symbolic duty when at the central London service.

Wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial by senior royals and political leaders including the prime minister, Theresa May, and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh watched the service from a Foreign and Commonwealth Office balcony.

The Cenotaph ceremony is a poignant event in the life of the nation, which normally involves the Queen leading the country in remembering those who have died in world wars and other conflicts, so Charles’s role in laying the wreath was a significant moment.

Buckingham Palace announced the change last month, which is seen as part of the subtle shift of head of state duties from the Queen to the heir to the throne.

Earlier this year, Philip, 96, retired from his solo public duties, but on occasion has joined the Queen at her official engagements.

Philip’s equerry laid his wreath, while Charles also laid his own wreath. The Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent also laid wreaths.

Other political figures laying wreaths included the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, and the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow. 

IN PICTURES: Remembrance Sunday 2017

  • PA Wire/PA Images

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stands next to Prime Minister Theresa May, with former prime ministers Tony Blair (left) and Sir John Major, standing behind them, as they wait to lay wreaths during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London.

  • Chris Jackson via Getty Images

    Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during the annual Remembrance Sunday memorial.

  • Mark Cuthbert via Getty Images

    The Duchess of Cambridge with the Countess of Wessex and Princess Alexandra during the annual Remembrance Sunday memorial.

  • PA Wire/PA Images

    Chelsea pensioners take part in the parade during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial.

  • PA Wire/PA Images

    Queen Elizabeth II observes the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial from a balcony in Whitehall.

  • Mark Cuthbert via Getty Images

    Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew during the annual Remembrance Sunday memorial.

  • Joining the Queen in observing the service from Foreign Office balconies were the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

    The firing of a gun marked the end of the silence, and the Last Post was sounded by the Buglers of the Royal Marines before the wreaths were laid.

    Charles has laid a wreath before on behalf of the Queen, in 1983 when she was out of the country, and when the Queen was in South Africa in 1999 she laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Durban.

    This year marks the centenaries of women’s service in the regular armed forces, the Battle of Passchendaele and the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as well as the 100th birthday of forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn.

    It also marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein and the creation of the RAF Regiment. 

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