Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Harry's Anzac Day Tributes

Prince Harry attends a service marking ANZAC Day in London on April 25th 2016
(photo Kensington Royal Twitter)

Prince Harry has led royal tributes to those who gave their lives in armed conflict as ANZAC Day was marked with a series of events in London, The prince, whose own active military career only came to an end last year, laid wreaths at two services and attended a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on the centenary of the first ANZAC Day parade in London.

Prince Harry on ANZAC Day 2016
(photo Kensington Royal Twitter)

ANZAC Day began as a commemoration of those who died at Gallipoli in 1915 - last year Harry and his father, the Prince of Wales, attended several events marking the 100th anniversary of that campaign which left thousands of soldiers, including many from Australia and New Zealand, dead. Their loss was widely mourned then, as now, and in 1916 Harry's great, great grandfather, George V, attended the first memorial service for them.

Harry's tributes began as first light broke - a traditional time to remember on ANZAC Day. With the skies still darker blue, the prince strode out a Hyde Park to lay a wreath at the war memorial at Wellington Arch and bow his head to remember.

Later that morning, Harry was at the Cenotaph where he laid a wreath of red poppies on behalf of the Queen during a short ceremony.

Then it was time to walk in the footsteps of his ancestor. On April 25th 1916, King George V attended a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the first anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign that had claimed so many lives. A century on, his great, great grandson stepped into the same Abbey to remember those thousands of people again.

The ceremony was moving and poignant and Harry again bowed his head as the Last Post played inside the Abbey's ancient walls.

At times, Harry looked close to tears during this day of moving ceremonies. The soldier prince has seen his own links to the military change in the past year. But it is clear that these tributes on ANZAC Day were keenly felt by Prince Harry.

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