09 November 2014

Remembrance Sunday 2014

Today, Britain marked Remembrance Sunday, an annual day of reflection and ceremony honoring those who have died in military conflicts. With commemorations all over the country and the globe, from the Tower of London's poppy installation to the Cenotaph to Afghanistan, the royal family played a central role in remembering the sacrifices of those who served.

The Queen, who is the Commander in Chief of the British Armed Forces (and of the Canadian Forces), led the tributes at the Cenotaph in London. Her jewelry on Remembrance Sunday is almost always the same: she selects one of her diamond bow brooches, but she uses it to gather the stems of her bunch of memorial poppies. The choice highlights the poppies rather than competing with them. This year, she wore the Dorset Bow Brooch, made by Carrington and given to Queen Mary as a wedding present in 1893 by the county of Dorset. As with her brooch at last night's Festival of Remembrance, the choice of an item from Mary's collection also neatly commemorates the woman who was queen consort during World War I.

After the Queen's tribute, the Duke of Edinburgh laid a wreath. Both Elizabeth and Philip are veterans of World War II. She served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service; he served with the Royal Navy and was commended for his courageous efforts during the Battle of Cape Matapan.

The Prince of Wales, who served in the Royal Navy during the 1970s, laid a third wreath.

And the Duke of Cambridge, wearing his Royal Air Force uniform, also laid a wreath at the memorial.

The Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, and the Duke of Kent also participated in the ceremony.

Some wondered why Prince Harry wasn't involved in the Cenotaph ceremony -- and then the palace revealed that he had quietly traveled to Afghanistan, where he participated in Remembrance Sunday services in Kandahar. (Princess Anne and Sir Tim, also not present at the London service, are in Ottawa.)

Other members of the royal family traditionally watch the Remembrance Sunday services in London from a balcony overlooking the Cenotaph. The Duchess of Cornwall wore familiar diamond and pearl jewelry, and she followed the Queen's lead by securing her poppies with the cap badge of the Lancers, the regiment that her father, Major Bruce Shand, fought with during World War II.

The Countess of Wessex wore the cap badge of The Rifles; she is the Royal Colonel of the 5th Battalion. She also wore the same crystal poppy brooch from Buckley London that she wore at last night's Festival of Remembrance.

The Duchess of Cambridge has worn a Buckley London poppy brooch in the past, but for today's service, she chose a different red floral brooch. It's actually an anemone, not a poppy, but there's a significant reason for her to have chosen it today: it was given to her during her tour of Australia by Emma Roberts-Smith, wife of Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, a recipient of the Victoria Cross. She also wore her diamond and sapphire earrings and the "Empress Mini" pendant necklace by Mappin and Webb.

The Duchess of Gloucester wore pearls, an enamel poppy brooch on her hat, and the cap badge of the Adjutant General's Corps. She's the corps's Deputy Colonel-in-Chief.

The Duke of Gloucester wore his medals pinned to his jacket.

Princess Alexandra repeated the diamond and pearl cluster earrings and the diamond floral brooch she wore at last night's Festival of Remembrance.