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What's the story behind those red poppy pins?

April 25, 2018 09:17 AM
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Meghan Markle is set to join the royal family for the first time to commemorate Remembrance Day this weekend.

Remembrance Day, which falls on Nov. 11 and is observed throughout the Commonwealth, marks the day World War One ended, at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. A two-minute silence is held at 11 a.m. to remember those who died in battle.

This weekend, the royal family has several memorial service outings planned, which will see Meghan join the Queen, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton. And many of them will be wearing red poppy pins.

It will not mark the first time Meghan has worn the well-known pin. She attended her first Anzac Day service last spring alongside Harry just one month before their royal wedding. Anzac Day commemorates the first major battle involving Australian and New Zealand forces during World War One. It has been honored in London since the first anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli in 1916, when King George V attended a service at Westminster Abbey.

The future royal wore a Smythe grey coat and (shop a similar style here) and bespoke Emilia Wickstead black two-piece crepe skirt suit (get a similar look here and here) for the somber occasion. She also had on a special accessory — a poppy pin.

The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military members who have died in war.

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The poppy symbol is believed to have come from the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, a poem about World War I. The opening stanza reads:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The royal family proudly wears their pins when they honor armed forces who sacrificed their lives.

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The tradition of wearing a poppy has been adopted across the U.K. and in Canada. It is especially poignant on Armistice Day on Nov. 11, which is observed in Europe and in the countries of the Commonwealth to remember the sacrifices of military members.

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The poppy is worn on the left to symbolize that those who died are close to your heart, according to the BBC. It’s also where military medals are worn.

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According to the Royal British Legion, who produces poppies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, “There is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy. It is a matter of personal choice whether an individual chooses to wear a poppy and also how they choose to wear it. The best way to wear a poppy is to wear it with pride.”

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