The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family led the U.K. tribute to those who have fallen in world wars and other conflicts

By Simon Perry
November 08, 2020 08:39 AM
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Kate Middleton 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, 38, 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.

But the royals were determined to go ahead with the scaled-down event, along with senior politicians, to show their respect.

Kate Middleton
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Queen Elizabeth
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Kate Middleton
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Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Kate Middleton
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Moments before 11 a.m., the Queen, 94, with her five-poppy cluster decorating her black coat, appeared with a lady-in-waiting on a balcony above Whitehall as her son Charles, 71, led the members of the Royal Family who were laying wreaths out onto the street below.

On the balcony to the Queen's left stood Princess Kate and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Like the others, Kate's cluster of three red poppies was worn as a symbol of remembrance for World War veterans

Also in attendance was Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne‘s husband -- who stood at a third balcony window.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Kate Middleton
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Kate Middleton
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Queen Elizabeth
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As the somber two-minute silence -- made all the more poignant by the lack of bystanders -- took place, Charles and William both blinked frequently in the low autumn sunlight,

The silence was broken by a gun salute and then the Royal Marine buglers played the haunting “Last Post.”

Then Prince Charles stepped forward to lay the first wreath, on behalf of the Queen. He would lay his own one soon afterwards.

Kate, 38, solemnly watched down from a balcony as William – in the uniform of a Royal Air Force officer. He served in the military for about seven years.

Prince William and Prince Charles
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Prince Charles
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Prince William
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With so many changes underway in the world due to the ongoing pandemic, it was important that Queen Elizabeth would signal that the moving ceremony would go ahead as usual.

Conspicuous by their absence were Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who have left the U.K. for California, and Prince Andrew, who has stood down as a working member of the Royal Family over his friendship with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Former army captain Harry, 36, would have been in the U.K. during this period of remembrance, taking part in something with his former comrades.

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This is the third year that the Queen has chosen not to lay a wreath at the ceremony but to hand the duty off to her son and heir, Charles.

The Queen’s retired husband Prince Philip — who retired from public life in August of 2017 following 64 years of royal service — did not attend. An equerry laid a tribute on the 99-year-old royal’s behalf.

Earlier, bands of the household division played – at a socially-distanced formation – in a parade ahead of the arrival of the small number of veterans allowed to take part.

As a medical precaution, the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester and his wife the Duchess were not among the royal party, despite being listed as attending beforehand.

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., but this year it was closed to the public. The march past by veterans was also cancelled, 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.