The Royal British Legion hosted the annual Festival of Remembrance this evening, to commemorate all those that have died in conflicts.
The Queen, Prince Philip, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge together with other senior members of the Royal Family attended the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. It is the first time that William and Catherine have joined The Queen at this annual event.
Alongside the Cambridges, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra attended the service. Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn were also there.
As Her Majesty arrived, she was greeted by the president of the Royal British Legion, Vice-Admiral Peter Wilkinson, as well as the sound of a fanfare played by trumpeters from The Band of the Household Cavalry.
This year’s programme included guests Rod Stewart, Pixie Lott, Andrea Bocelli and Gregory Porter. They performed alongside the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, The Queen’s Colour Squadron, the band of the HM Royal Marines, and the Band and Pipes of the Brigade of Gurkhas.
The festival of Remembrance started with Colonel Bogey March written by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts in 1914. Paul Gacobs started the Festival, were he expressed this years citation. He said that this is ‘a time to remember a time to mourn’ and remember ‘those who have served our great country’.
Videos contributed to the service: Veteran Paul Jacobs lost his sight after helping to save colleagues from a bomb blast in Afghanistan. “I am now no longer a soldier, I am a wounded person that’s got a whole life that wasn’t planned out,” he said in a video interview.
Three generations of Gurkhas spoke of their experience in the war zone, including Brigadier Bruce Jackman, who successfully led a jungle raid in Borneo for which he was awarded a Military Cross.
The band and pipes followed, and later the Chelsea Pensioners made their way in the Royal Albert Hall, and the Battle of Gallipoli was also remembered. Next, was Andrea Bocelli, the famous Italian tenor, and performed for the audience.
VE and VJ Day were also mentioned during the festival, this year celebrating 70 years, and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, The Queen’s Colour Squadron gave a spectacular performance alongside Pixie Lott.
Bob Hucklesby, also shared his experience in war, and concluded that ‘those left behind will not be forgotten’. Those present gave a standing ovation, to thank him and other fighters of World War Two. After, Rod Stewart performed a new song, specially commissioned for this year’s festival: Way Back Home honours the generation of WWII.
Sheila Griffiths-Gibson shared the pain when she lost her husband, a pilot who served in Iraq. Bereaved families also witnessed the service at the Royal Albert Hall, and there was another standing ovation.
Gregory Porter performed Amazing Grace and thanked the Royal British Legion for their service to the Armed Forces. The Festival of Remembrance thanks the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, the Merchant Navy, the Royal British Legion and Civilian Services for their dedication to their country, just before Remembrance Sunday.
It began in 1927, originally intended to honour the sacrifices of those who died in World War One, however it now includes tributes to the war dead from all past and more recent conflicts.