Today marked a different version of Remembrance Sunday, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. A scaled back version of the event took place at the Cenotaph, with The Queen watching proceedings from the Foreign Office balcony.
The service was closed off to the public for the first time, adding a further eerie quiet to proceedings.
She was joined by a Lady in Waiting, instead of The Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge. They shared a balcony to her left, while The Countess of Wessex was joined by Admiral Lawrence, while The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were absent from the occasion owing to medical advice.
In pictures released yesterday, we saw Her Majesty wearing a mask for the first time, as she marked 100 years since the burial of a soldier in the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey. A replica bouquet of her wedding flowers was placed on the tomb.
Following a two-minute silence, when senior Royals filed out onto the street, wreaths were laid by Prince Charles on behalf of The Queen and nation and one from himself; this is a duty he has undertaken for three years now. An officer from the intelligence corps placed a wreath from The Duke of Edinburgh, who was not at the event.
Prince William – in his RAF uniform – laid another, followed by Princess Anne (who is , The Earl of Wessex wearing the Royal Wessex Yeomanry uniform, and The Duke of Kent, who served more than 20 years in the Scots Greys and is also president of the Commonwealth Graves Commission.
The Prime Minister and other political leaders were also present with wreaths.
The Massed Bands and the Guard Division and the Pipes and Drums played a selection of music to accompany the reduced ceremony, but no veterans followed the ceremony, walking down Whitehall.
Last night, the Festival of Remembrance took place at the Royal Albert Hall, where Prince Charles paid virtual tribute to the armed forces for standing “side-by-side” with frontline NHS staff and key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Prince of Wales said the country had endured ‘anxiety and grief not previously experienced in peacetime’.
“In this challenging year, we have perhaps come to realise that the freedoms for which they fought are more precious than we knew, and that the debt we owe them is even greater than we imagined,” he said.
Events attended by members of the Royal Family will be taking place on Wednesday – Remembrance Day itself and the anniversary of the ceasefire in WWI.