Press & Communications

11 Nov 2010

The Duke of Edinburgh opened the 82nd Royal British Legion’s Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day, Thursday 11 November 2010.

His Royal Highness arrived at the Field of Remembrance, on the Abbey’s North Green, shortly before 11 am and was greeted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall; the Rector of St Margaret’s Church, the Reverend Andrew Tremlett; and members of the Royal British Legion. Prayers were said by the Dean and the Rector. The Dean said: ‘For the 82nd time at the Field of Remembrance we meet again to remember those who gave their lives in the conflicts of our time that we might enjoy freedom and peace.’

The Duke of Edinburgh 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 from the parapet of St Margaret’s Church by Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the Exhortation of Remembrance was said before the nation’s observance of Two Minutes Silence at 11am.

After the silence His Royal Highness toured the plots of poppy crosses meeting veterans and representatives, and members of the public, who have planted a cross in memory of their fallen comrades and loved ones.

Each November the Royal British Legion establishes a Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Westminster Abbey. The Field is a sea of Remembrance Crosses with scarlet poppies - a symbol of remembrance and a tribute to the memory of ex-Service men and women.

Following the opening of the Field of Remembrance, the Duke of Edinburgh then attended a short service, inside Westminster Abbey, to mark the 90th anniversary of the arrival at the Abbey on 11 November 1920 of a coffin containing the body of an unidentified member of the armed forces from the First World War battlefields.

At the service The Dean of Westminster gave a bidding, before The Duke of Edinburgh laid a wreath at the Grave of Unknown Warrior. The Choirboys of Westminster Abbey sang Pie Jesu from Faure’s Requiem and prayers were offered by the Reverend Michael Macey, Minor Canon of Westminster.

The Grave of the Unknown Warrior stands as a tribute to the fallen of the First World War and all those who have died since in military conflict. The Warrior remains a focus for pilgrimage and a powerful symbol, known across the world, of sacrifice, suffering and bravery in war. Heads of State who visit the UK at the invitation of The Queen come as part of their formal programme to lay a wreath at the Grave.


See also:

The Royal British Legion website

BBC News coverage of the Two Minute Silence

From trench to tomb: The unknown soldier's journey


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