You are currently browsing the daily archive for November 14, 2022.

The weekend’s events surrounding Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday entered a new era with King Charles.

First, however, November 14 is the King’s birthday and his first one as monarch. He turned 74 on Monday:

Many happy returns, Your Majesty!

Remembrance Day

Last week, the King and Queen Consort paid their respects to those who died for our freedom:

On Thursday, November 10, the Telegraph reported (emphases mine):

The Queen Consort today paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at a plot created in her memory at Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance.

The plot features two black-and-white photographs of the late Queen taken at the Field of Remembrance in 2002, the year she lost both her mother and her sister.

In one, she stands, head bowed in silent contemplation alongside the Duke of Edinburgh.

In the other, she is bending down to place a small wooden cross amongst others in the ground.

A black wooden cross alongside the photographs reads β€œIn Memorandum. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 1926 – 1922”.

The Queen [Consort], who is patron of the Poppy Factory, was taking part in a ceremony to commemorate the nation’s war dead, which takes place on the Thursday before Remembrance Sunday each year.

She placed her own wooden cross of remembrance, bearing her new cypher, amid a sea of poppies before bowing her head.

The ceremony had a large attendance:

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.

The Queen Consort then met Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, before being introduced to Poppy Factory staff and then reviewing the plots for regimental and other associations.

Before leaving, she was invited by the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, to review a plot honouring her late mother-in-law.

Camilla took over the patronage from Prince Harry in 2020, after he relinquished his royal duties:

The Queen took over at the event from the Duke of Sussex when he stepped down from royal duties in 2020. The ceremony marks a tradition, now in its 94th year, that was previously the responsibility of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Deirdre Mills, chief executive of The Poppy Factory, said:

Her Majesty’s commitment to the ex-forces community has been unwavering. We are grateful to Her Majesty The Queen Consort for her continued support as we look to help hundreds more veterans overcome barriers on their journey towards employment.

Meanwhile, the Princess of Wales toured a children’s centre in London, where she explained the importance of the poppy to a little boy and gave him hers to wear:

The Telegraph had the story:

The Princess of Wales gave a three-year-old her poppy on Wednesday after he pointed it out on her coat.

She stopped to speak to the boy, called Akeem, during a visit to Colham Manor Children’s Centre in Hillingdon, west London, after spending the morning chatting with mothers and health workers.

The two introduced themselves, then:

The Princess asked Akeem if he had a poppy, before adding: β€œIt’s very nice, would you like mine?”

β€œYes,” came the response, to giggles from onlookers. The Princess then carefully removed the poppy from her coat, saying, β€œthere you go, you can have my poppy. Shall I see if I can get it out?”

As she fiddled with it, she asked the boy: β€œDo you know what this is for? It’s for remembering all the soldiers who died in the war.”

She said: β€œThere you go, that’s for you. Will you look after it?”

She gave the pin to his mother so she fasten it for him.

New monarch, new wreath

As we have a new monarch, a new memorial wreath appeared on Remembrance Sunday.

King Charles has his own design, with his own ‘racing colours’, displayed in an elegant ribbon and bow extending across the centre.

The Telegraph described it:

Its poppies are mounted on an arrangement of black leaves, as per tradition for the sovereign, while its ribbon bears the King’s racing colours; scarlet, purple and gold.

The racing colours were also incorporated into the wreaths of King George V, King George VI and the late Queen.

Unfortunately, the King’s wreath had no white in it, which, as I recall, the Queen’s did. In fact, I don’t remember the black in her wreath, only the white.

White symbolises resurrection and eternal life, which we hope the Glorious Dead experience.

The Queen Consort also had a wreath laid at the Cenotaph on Sunday, as the Queen Mother — the previous Queen Consort — had when she was alive:

For the first time, a wreath will be laid on her behalf, by an equerry, and will bear her own family’s racing colours, inherited from her grandfather.

Remembrance Sunday

It was heartening to see that, although the survivors of the Great War have long gone to their rest and that those from the Second World War are, too, Remembrance Sunday still attracts 20,000 people.

The Sunday Times reported that 10,000 took place in the march past the Cenotaph in Whitehall. They were mainly Royal British Legion veterans representing 300 Armed Forces organisations. The other participants were from civilian organisations connected with previous wars and conflicts. War widows also marched past. Cadet organisations representing the respective armed forces also marched past.

The Sunday Times estimated that 10,000 spectators watched from the sidelines.

The march past began and ended at Horse Guards Parade, where Trooping the Colour takes place every June. At the Cenotaph in Whitehall, one person from each organisation handed over a large poppy wreath to lay at the foot of the monument.

Mobility issues are catered for …

… and age is no barrier:

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War (see the second tweet):

This retired soldier is from Royal Hospital Chelsea, which Charles II founded in 1682, at the suggestion of his mistress Nell Gwyn. It is a retirement home with a state-of-the-art infirmary.

Those lucky few men and women who live there are known as Chelsea Pensioners. On ceremonial days and when they leave the Hospital, they wear their red jackets and tricorne hats, also designed by Charles II. See the gentleman in the second tweet:

The ceremony revolves around the Cenotaph, with its inscription:

THE GLORIOUS DEAD

The commemoration began in 1920 to remember all those who gave their lives in the Great War, the First World War. George V, whom the late Queen affectionately called Grandfather England, was the first monarch to lay a wreath. Note that there was quite a bit of white in his (top right photo) compared with Charles’s. George VI is pictured on the lower left:

Here is a close-up of George V from 1924:

Other working Royals also laid their wreaths. Note that William’s is that of the Prince of Wales now. The Queen Consort and Princess of Wales watched from the balcony at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO):

Other members of the Royal Family also watched from the FCDO balcony: The Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Sir Tim Laurence (Princess Anne’s husband).

The Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces and leaders of the UK’s political parties also laid wreaths. This will be the last time we see EIIR cyphers:

A short Christian service followed the two-minute silence at 11:00 a.m. The Right Revd Dame Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, led it:

The march past took place afterwards.

The morning was poignant, solemn, dignified and, if I may say so, beautiful as always.

The Telegraph quoted Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, who summed up the 2022 ceremony well:

In an interview broadcast on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, he said: “I think Remembrance Sunday is always poignant.

“I think it’s poignant for the whole nation, this special moment when we pause to reflect on the sacrifice and commitment of others to provide our freedom today.

“I think there’s a special poignancy this year with both the loss of Her Majesty, another loss of a Second World War veteran.

“I also think it’s poignant when we have once again the spectre of war in Europe and all that that entails, and a country that’s been invaded and is fighting for its freedom.”

On Sunday night, the Elizabeth Tower, which Big Ben adorns, had a splendid illumination for Remembrance Sunday, which also remembered the late Queen, for whom the tower is named:

My better half and I watch the ceremony every year. Each time, I see something new upon which to reflect privately in the days that follow. This year was no different. Long may those reflections continue.

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