The Queen leads Royal Remembrance

The Queen has led the Royal Family as it begins the solemn events that surround her country's annual commemoration of those who gave their lives for it in conflict. On the eve of Remembrance Sunday, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were joined by other members of their family at the Festival of Remembrance. The poppies fell and the poignant process of remembering began.

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Among those attending the annual festival, organised by the Royal British Legion, were the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra of Kent. They joined the Queen in the Royal Box at the Royal Albert Hall for the annual event which is usually held the night before the national act of commemoration on Remembrance Sunday. The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry didn't attend as they were at rugby matches.

This year's festival included performances by Lesley Garrett, Emili Sande and Alfie Boe and it was compered by Huw Edwards. As is traditional, members of the Armed Services came together in the centre of the Royal Albert Hall for a service of remembrance which ended, as always, with the moving sight of thousands of red poppy petals falling on them in memory of those who have died while fighting for their country.

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The Festival of Remembrance began in 1923 when it was called ''In Memory 1914-1918, A Cenotaph in Sound' and it was held in support of the British Legion. The event, which included a performance of John Foulds' new work ''A World Requiem: a Cenotaph in Sound'' was attended by the then Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, beginning a long royal association with the event. The performance was first broadcast on the BBC in 1927 and the Queen first attended in 1952, the year of her accession. She now nearly always leads her family at this special event which are a focal point to start remembrance events for so many. On Remembrance Sunday itself, the Queen will watch the service from a balcony overlooking Whitehall while the Prince of Wales lays her wreath on behalf of the nation.