Prince William Joins Anzac Day Commemorations

It is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honour those who served and died in all conflicts.

Prince William attends Anzac Day commemorations alongside New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Picture: Kensington Palace).

The Duke of Cambridge has begun his two-day visit in New Zealand by attending an Anzac Day memorial service.

It is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honour those who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

Gallipoli was Australia and New Zealand’s first major battle of the First World War.

Waves of Allied forces launched an amphibious attack on the strategically important Turkish peninsula, which was key to controlling the Dardanelles straits, the crucial route to the Black Sea and Russia.

But the plan backed by Winston Churchill, then first lord of the admiralty, was flawed and the campaign, which faced a heroic defence by the Turks, led to stalemate and withdrawal eight months later.

Overall in the campaign from March 1915 to January 1916, the deaths were estimated as:

  • 25,000 British
  • 10,000 Australian and New Zealand
  • 10,000 French
  • 86,000 Turkish

Its legacy is the celebration of the "Anzac spirit" - courage, endurance, initiative, discipline and mateship - shown by the Antipodean troops.

In the UK, the Duchess of Cambridge will attend a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the anniversary.

The Duke of Cambridge has also met survivors of last month's terror attack in Christchurch, in which 50 people were killed. 

Prince William was also given an insight into how the Christchurch mosque attacks unfolded as he met with some of the officers and medics who were among the first on the scene.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has been praised worldwide for her handling of the mosque attacks, said the duke has a "close connection" with New Zealand and Christchurch in particular.

"His visit provides the opportunity to pay tribute to those affected by the mosque terrorist attacks and show support to the local and national community," she said.

"We welcome this visit by His Royal Highness and know it will bring comfort to those affected."

William, in New Zealand on a two-day trip on behalf of the Queen, also visited the city's Justice and Emergency Services Precinct as he arrived in Christchurch, where he was met by New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush.