Remembrance Day 2017: Prince Charles Leads Tributes To War Dead

The Prince of Wales has led the nation in honouring the country's war dead on Remembrance Sunday, as the Queen observed the service from a...

The Prince of Wales has led the nation in honouring the country's war dead on Remembrance Sunday, as the Queen observed the service from a balcony.

The Queen asked Charles to lay her wreath at the Cenotaph, in what is believed to be the first time the monarch has broken with tradition and not performed the symbolic duty when at the Whitehall service.

A two-minute silence took place at 11 am and wreaths were laid at the foot of the Whitehall memorial by senior royals and political leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Other political figures laying wreaths included Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Commons Speaker John Bercow. (Picture: MoD)

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh watched the service from a Foreign and Commonwealth Office balcony.

The Cenotaph ceremony is a poignant and significant event in the life of the nation which normally involves the Queen leading the country in remembering those who have died in world wars and other conflicts, so Charles' role in laying the wreath was a significant moment.

Buckingham Palace announced the change last month, which is seen as an example of the subtle shift of head of state duties from the Queen to the heir to the throne.

Earlier this year Philip, 96, retired from his solo public duties, but on occasion has joined the Queen at her official engagements.

Charles has laid a wreath before on behalf of the Queen, in 1983 when she was out of the country, and when the Queen was in South Africa in 1999 she laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Durban.

After the ceremony, thousands of veterans from the Second World War, and more recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, marched past the Cenotaph.

Mrs May said: "It was an honour to attend the Remembrance Sunday service and to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in memory of all those who have died in defence of our freedom.

"This time of year should remind us that our way of life is only made possible by the bravery of the men and women who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe.

"We should also take great pride in the way we come together as a nation to honour the fallen.

"Today I pay tribute not just to our armed forces but also to those who stand alongside them in this small act of remembrance each and every year."

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "Remembrance Sunday is an opportunity for both the nation and our armed forces to remember all those that have given so much in the service of Great Britain.

"We must not forget the continued sacrifice our armed forces make right across the globe serving in 30 countries, making sure that this country remains safe and that the freedoms that we have today continue to be protected."

This year marks the centenaries of women's service in the regular armed forces, the Battle of Passchendaele and the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as well as the 100th birthday of forces' sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn.

It also marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein and the creation of the RAF Regiment.

Forces News spoke to soldiers who served in times of war - from the Second World War to Afghanistan - and asked them to explain what they think about during the two-minute silence each year:

Cover picture courtesy of the Ministry of Defence.

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