All worn with pride, but such different royal poppies
THEIR poppies came in all shapes and sizes, strikingly displayed on sombre dark evening wear, but the message was the same: They Shall Not Be Forgotten.
When the Queen joined other Royals to pay tribute to The Fallen at last night’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, Her Majesty’s cluster of no fewer than five poppies fastened in a brooch was certainly the biggest.
One theory is that she wears one poppy for each branch of the services: Navy, Army and Air Force, plus one each to represent Civil Defence and women.
Whatever the reason, Her Majesty’s tribute was certainly difficult to miss.
The Duchess of Cambridge, meanwhile, limited herself to three paper poppies fastened in place by her brooch, wearing her poppies on her right breast instead of the traditional left, to be close to the heart. The reason was probably because her asymmetric dress was revealingly cut on the left-hand side, with no space for a poppy.
The Duchess of Sussex made do with a far more modest poppy enamel pin and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, chose a £29.99 Women of the First World War Brooch, issued by the Royal British Legion, which has proved so popular that it has sold out this year.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s brooch didn’t appear to be in this year’s poppy range, suggesting that she may have recycled one she had already.
The male members of the Royal Family, including Princes William and Harry, contented themselves with one simple paper poppy each adorning their military medals.
The Royal Family stood as thousands of audience members attending the event held aloft photographs of family members who took part in the First World War.
Theresa May and her husband Philip held aloft photographs of two of her ancestors – one of them Private Hubert Brasier Grant, of the East Surrey Regiment, who died at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, aged 19.
Mrs May attended after return- ing from Europe, where she lay wreaths and recited a poem in both France and Belgium.
Sir Tom Jones led the musical performances, singing Coming In On A Wing And A Prayer while accompanied by the RAF Squadronaires, a big band orchestra.
Sheridan Smith was backed softly by a piano as she sang Are You Just Sleeping?, while Tom Fletcher from McFly performed Born To Fly with Danny Jones, which he wrote to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the cellist who delighted millions at Harry and Meghan’s wedding earlier this year, played a modern version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to the hushed crowd, and there was a contribution too from the Kingdom Choir, which also performed to acclaim at the wedding in Windsor in May.
The audience clapped along as members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force marched in and gathered in formation at the centre of the room.
Rows of poppies adorned the room and were projected on to the floor. And at the end of the evening, the Last Post sounded before poppies began to fall from the ceiling, forming a poignant carpet of red.
The event was organised by Armed Forces charity the Royal British Legion as a ‘thank you to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world’ .
Today, the Prince of Wales will once again l ead the nation in honouring the country’s war dead during the national service of remembrance at the Cenotaph, while the Queen observes from the nearby Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
And in a historic act of reconcilia-
tion, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will also lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, along with Prince Charles and Theresa May.
A service in Westminster Abbey will also be held, alongside events all over the country, to honour those who fought and fell in the Great War.
BOLD STATEMENT: Kate went for a striking group of three poppies while Camilla and Sophie chose single flowers
MARKS OF RESPECT: Meghan went for a subtle enamel pin, whereas the Queen, top, has a corsage of five more traditional red poppies