Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Royal Festival of Remembrance

The Queen has led the Royal Family at the annual Festival of Remembrance, held on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. Music, prayer, poems and readings combined to make an evening honouring those who have lost their lives fighting for their country.

The Festival of Remembrance was first held on November 11th 1923. The performance was called  In Memory 1914-1918 – A Cenotaph In Sound, in aid of The British Legion, Field Marshal Earl Haig’s Appeal for Ex-Service Men of all Ranks and it featured the premiere of John Foulds' new work, A World Requiem, a Cenotaph in Sound. Now it is a mix of music and words, this year featuring performers including Alexander Armstrong, Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins, that embraces both modern and traditional.

The importance of this event in the royal calendar was clear. With the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were all their children. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall sat with the Duke of York in the front row while the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence were in the row behind. The Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra joined them with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the front, William next to his grandfather, Prince Philip.

There have already been several tributes paid by the Royal Family as part of this year's commemorations of remembrance.  The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry attended the Fields of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey and the Duke of Cambridge visited World War One graves at Willesden Cemetery earlier in the week. On Armistice Day itself, Prince Harry led tributes at the National Memorial Arboretum and the Prince of Wales attended a memorial service during the last day of his visit to Bahrain.
The Queen will lead the Royal Family on Remembrance Sunday when they attend the annual service at the Cenotaph. 

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