This evening the Royal Family attended the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. The event commemorates all those who have lost their lives in conflicts past and present, and is hosted by the Royal British Legion.
This year’s festival was particularly poignant, as it marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush, which brought people from the Caribbean who came to Britain after the Second World War II to help rebuild the nation. Many of them also served in the British Armed Forces, and their contributions were honored at this year’s festival.
Before the festival began, King Charles III and Queen Camilla unveiled two new statues of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which were commissioned to mark the hall’s 150th anniversary.
The King unveiled the statue of his late mother, and Camilla unveiled the statue of the Prince Consort.
Created by artist Poppy Field, the bronzes ‘complete’ the building by filling the niches of its north porch, which have been empty since 1871.
The commissioning of the sculptures was awarded following a competition involving a shortlist of seven sculptors supported by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), a charity supporting excellence in British craftsmanship.
Ian McCulloch, president of the Royal Albert Hall, said: ‘It is particularly fitting for our distinctive building to mark the contribution to our history of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who supported and attended the hall devotedly for so many decades.’
The King and Queen were joined by The Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Anne and Sir Tim, The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester for the remainder of the evening.
Catherine wore a pair of earrings from the late Queen as well as three strings of her pearls.
The festival itself featured a variety of performances, including music, dance, and readings. The Orchestra of the Household Division, The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, String Ensemble of the Royal Marines Band Service, and The Royal Air Force Salon Orchestra all performed, as did the Festival Chorus and The Bach Choir.
The festival also featured a number of readings, including poems, letters, and diary entries from servicemen and women and their families. These readings gave a personal and moving account of the experiences of those who have been affected by conflict.
The festival concluded with a two-minute silence, followed by the Last Post and the National Anthem. The King and Queen then led the audience in a rendition of the hymn “Abide With Me.”
This year’s event additionally commemorated 80 years since The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest military campaign of World War II, and the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.
The Festival of Remembrance commemorates the sacrifices of those who have served in the British Armed Forces. The presence of the Royal Family at this year’s festival was a powerful reminder of the nation’s support for its veterans and their families.
Earlier today, The Princess Royal attended a Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, while The King will lead the nation in remembrance at the Cenotaph tomorrow.