Eve of the Somme Centenary

The Queen and members of the British Royal Family attended services on the eve of Centenary Celebrations for the Battle of the Somme on June 30th. The Queen and Duke attended a service during the overnight vigil at Westminister Abbey. The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended a vigil at the Thiepval Memorial in France.

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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended commemorations at Westminister Abbey, where an overnight vigil was held at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: ‘The Battle of the Somme is remembered as one of the most devastating of the First World War. ‘The sacrifice of many thousands of lives in a battle which ultimately failed to achieve any serious breakthrough stands as a reminder of the suffering and loss involved in the First World War. The Queen laid a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.

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The Queen repeated the sombre grey coat and hat from her visit to Germany last year, with her customary Three Strand Pearl Necklace and the Cullinan V Brooch. The Duke of Edinburgh wore a navy suit with a striped tie and all of his medals.

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In France, the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the Thiepval Memorial, where the 70,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave are commemorated. They were joined by Sir Timothy Laurence, husband of the Princess Royal.

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Later, they attended a military vigil. Prince William said:“It was in many ways the saddest day in the long story of our nation.” Prince Harry read the poem “Before Action,” written by Lieutenant W.N. Hodgson, who was killed July 1st of 1916 in the Battle. The Lieutenant wrote the poem the day before he was killed.

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The Duchess wore a new Missoni coat over a black dress and a pillbox hat. She also wore the faux pearl Balenciaga earrings from the Trooping the Colour. The Duke and Prince Harry wore navy suits with red and blue striped ties and their medals.

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