Royals at the Cenotaph

Later today, the British Royal Family will attend their annual Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, marking the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War at 11 am on the 11th of November, 1918. To mark the event, we are taking a look at Royals at the Cenotaph.

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To mark the end of the War, King George V and Queen Mary attended a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the following year, the King sent a letter throughout the Commonwealth, calling for two minutes of silence at 11 am on the 11th of November. The King also laid a wreath at the newly unveiled Cenotaph on November 11th in 1920, which unlike the victory arches of previous wars, was erected in remembrance of those who died during the First World War. The Royal Family also has a special relationship with the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, as the wedding bouquets of Royal Brides rest on the Tomb for a period of time after the Wedding.

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The Royal Family continued to attend the annual Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at the Cenotaph throughout the interwar years, including the short reign of King Edward VIII, and during the Reign of King George VI, with an added significance during and after the Second World War.

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The Queen has laid a wreath at the Cenotaph most years since 1946, and has presided over the annual Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at the Cenotaph since her accession to the Throne in 1952. Throughout her Reign, the Queen and members of the Royal Family have laid wreaths on Cenotaphs around the World.

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Most male members of the Royal Family have laid their wreaths at the Cenotaph after the Queen, while female members have observed the proceedings from the Balcony of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Building, where they were often joined by King Olav of Norway throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

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In 2015, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of The Netherlands also joined the Royal Family, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands. Last year, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh joined other members of the family on the Balcony, while the Prince of Wales laid a Wreath on the Queen’s behalf, which will be repeated this year.

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