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Royals to gather for poignant first Remembrance Day since death of the Queen

The King, as the Prince of Wales, lays a wreath during Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph (Peter Nicholls/PA)
The King, as the Prince of Wales, lays a wreath during Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph (Peter Nicholls/PA)

The royal family will be out in force on Sunday for a moving Remembrance Day service – the first since the death of the Queen.

The King will lay a new poppy wreath incorporating a ribbon of his racing colours, with the design a tribute to the ones used by both his late mother and his grandfather George VI.

As Charles leads the nation at the Cenotaph for the first time as King, the service will be a poignant moment for the royal family.

Remembrance Sunday
The late Queen during the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, in 2020 (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Queen, who died just nine weeks ago at the age of 96, considered Remembrance Sunday, which commemorates the war dead, one of the most significant and important engagements in the royal calendar.

The nation’s longest reigning monarch, who lived through the Second World War as a teenager and was head of the armed forces, only missed seven Cenotaph services during her reign, including in 2021 due to a back sprain.

A wreath will also be laid on the Queen Consort’s behalf for the first time as Camilla watches from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.

Buckingham Palace announced the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra will attend the service on November 13.

Remembrance Sunday
Camilla, Kate and the Countess of Wessex on the balcony at the Remembrance Sunday service in 2021 (Toby Melville/PA)

They will also gather for the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night.

For the King’s wreath, poppies will be mounted on an arrangement of black leaves, as is traditional for the sovereign, with the ribbon bearing the King’s racing colours of scarlet, purple and gold.

Royal racing colours were also incorporated into the wreaths of George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, the Palace said.

The King’s will feature fewer poppies – around 50 – compared to his late mother’s 93, but they will be bigger and the ribbon will include a bow, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

The Poppy Factory centenary
The wreaths of the Queen, the then Prince of Wales and the then Duke of Cambridge on display at the Poppy Factory visitor centre in March (Steve Parsons/PA)

Camilla’s wreath will bear her racing colours – brown, red and yellow – inherited from her grandfather, and echoes the wreath of the previous Queen consort, the Queen Mother.

William will lay the same wreath previously laid by his father, who held the title Prince of Wales for more than 64 years before his accession to the throne.

It will feature the white Prince of Wales feathers but will bear a new ribbon in “Welsh red”.

The King and the Queen Consort’s wreaths have been made by The Poppy Factory and will be accompanied by handwritten cards bearing their new cyphers.

In 2017, Charles began placing a wreath on his mother’s behalf as she watched from the Foreign Office balcony instead.

Remembrance Sunday
Wreaths by the Cenotaph after the Remembrance Sunday service in 2021 (Aaron Chown/PA)

The change was seen as a subtle shift of head-of-state duties.

On Friday, the Gloucester’s will attend The National Memorial Arboretum Armistice Day Service in Staffordshire.

After the service on Sunday, the Earl of Wessex will take the salute at the march past of veteran organisations on Horse Guards Parade.