Royals lead the nation in remembrance
The Royal Family gathered in London on Sunday to lead Britain in its annual Remembrance Sunday in tribute to the country's war dead.
The Queen, wearing a black coat adorned with a cluster of poppies, led the procession, followed by the immediate family members: Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles,Prince William, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and the Duke of Kent. Absent was Prince Harry, who is still in the U.S., where he is doing military training.
Watching from the balcony at Whitehall were the duchesses of Cornall, Cambridge and Wessex. It was the first Remembrance ceremony for Kate as a member of the Royal Family. Her grandfather, Peter Middleton, trained pilots in Calgary during the war. He died last year at age 90.
This year marks the first time since Remembrance ceremonies began that there are no veterans of World War I. The last known WWI veteran, British-born Claude Choules, died in May in Australia at age 110. Canada's last veteran of the Great War, John Babcock, died in February 2010 at age 109.
The service at the Cenotaph was the centre of observances held across Britain and at their military posts worldwide.
The royals were joined by thousands of servicemen and an appreciative crowd that applauded the veterans who marched to the Cenotaph.
One group of women sang along as the band belted out popular old army marching songs, AP reported. "Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag, and smile, smile, smile," they sang, one wiping tears from her eyes.
The Queen placed the first wreath at the foot of the memorial, followed by Prince Philip, Charles and William, all wearing their military uniforms.
As Big Ben struck 11 a.m, heads were bowed for two minutes of silence.
The Queen was joined by Prime Minister David Cameron and several former prime ministers, including Tony Blair and John Major.