Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of one of the most ferocious naval battles in WWI history, the Battle of Jutland. Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence were in Scotland to commemorate the centenary, without her father, Prince Philip, who had been advised to miss the event by his doctors.
The Princess Royal joined David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon and German president, Joachim Gauck, for a service at memorial service at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney to start the commemorations.
A second service was held at Lyness Naval Cemetery on the island of Hoy, where the Prime Minister, German president and Princess Anne laid wreaths at the Cross of Sacrifice. Relatives of those who fought placed their own wooden poppy crosses in the cemetery.
It was then to a wreath-laying service and then an act of remembrance at South Queensferry Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s cemetery, where 40 casualties from the battle are commemorated or buried.
Anne was wearing her naval uniform as Admiral and Chief Commandant for Women in the Navy, and was accompanied by her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, who vice-chairman of the Commonwealth war graves commission.
A minute’s silence followed the ringing of a bell; this bell was crafted from the hull of HMS Tiger, a ship involved in the Jutland campaign. Descendants of those who fought and died looked on.
More than 6,000 Britons and 2,500 Germans died in the 36-hour battle, which involved about 250 ships. Both sides claimed victory, since the Brits kept the German navy away from British waters, and the Germans took more lives in the conflict.
There was also a service at sea, where British and German naval representatives scattered poppies and forget-me-nots – the German flower of remembrance – into the North Sea at Jutland Bank.
A message from The Duke of Edinburgh was featured in the order of service:
“There was, understandably, public disappointment with the result, but there is no doubt it was fought with the highest courage and determination under the most difficult and challenging circumstances.
“Whatever the judgement on the outcome, the commemoration of the centenary of the battle is focused on the endurance and gallantry of all those who took part, on both sides, and particularly on those who lost their lives.
Anne later went to South Queensferry’s cemetery to unveil a plaque for the centenary.
Prince Michael of Kent marked the occasion in Belfast. Here, he delivered a speech celebrating the restoration of the last surviving vessel from the Battle of Jutland, HMS Caroline, while his brother, The Duke of Kent was at the Marine monument in Laboe, Germany.