Prince Harry Opens Field of Remembrance
Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance Opened by HRH Prince Harry
HRH Prince Harry attended the opening of the iconic Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey this morning.
Serving soldiers walked alongside veterans, cadets and civilians, paying their respects to the fallen.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Sussex, still wearing his beard whilst in uniform, was met by The Dean of Westminster Abbey when he arrived at Westminster Abbey.
Last Post Sounded By Scots Guardsman
Prince Harry laid a Cross of Remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars. The ‘Last Post’ was sounded by a musician from the Band of the Scots Guards, which was followed by an Exhortation to Remembrance by Sara Jones, President of The Poppy Factory.
There followed a poignant two minutes’ silence.
After the immaculate silence Prince Harry, formerly of The Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry, met veterans from past and more recent conflicts.
The ex-soldier reviewed the Remembrance plots and chatted with soldiers old and young as well as children who were also paying their respects.
On his walk through the field of wooden crosses emotions were mixed – high-spirited, yet reflective. Service personnel smiled with fellow visitors, but faces were etched with sadness as the war dead were remembered.
Bringing some cheer to the important occasion were the faces of military mascot “Watchman V”, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier from the Staffordshire Regiment, resplendent in his regimental coat and poppy and shadowed by his keen understudy “Watchman VI”.
Fields of Remembrance Tradition
The tradition of planting a field of Remembrance started in 1928, when The Poppy Factory took a group of disabled veterans, a tray of poppies and a collecting tin to the grounds of St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. The group gathered round an original wooden cross taken from the battlefield grave of an unknown British soldier. Some of the men began to push poppies into the ground, passers-by stopped and before long they began buying and planting poppies themselves – creating the very first Field of Remembrance.
This year there will be more than 120,000 crosses planted in six fields of Remembrance across the UK.
Image: Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance by Sgt Paul Randall RLC (Crown Copyright, 2018).