Her Majesty The Queen opens the 2023 Field of Remembrance

Thursday, 9th November 2023

The Queen smiling as she shakes hands with someone from the military

Her Majesty The Queen opened the 95th Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 9th November 2023.

The annual event, which marks the start of the nation’s Remembrance commemorations, has been held every year since 1928, when the Poppy Factory brought a tray of poppies and a collecting tin to the grounds of St Margaret's Church. Only a handful of poppies were planted around a single cross, but it began a tradition that has grown over the decades, and now a sea of scarlet poppies covers St Margaret’s churchyard in the Abbey grounds each November.

‘Silent remembrance and gratitude’

In his welcome to this year’s event, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said:

‘For the 95th 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.
At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, the First World War ended: that date, that time, have become a symbolic moment on which to pause in silent remembrance and gratitude. With full hearts at this, our Field of Remembrance, let us pray for the peace of the whole world.’

Exhortation to Remembrance

Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, President of the Poppy Factory, invited The Queen to lay a cross of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.

Last Post was sounded from the parapet of St Margaret's Church by a bandsman from the Scots Guards.

RAdm Jarvis read the Exhortation to Remembrance, which draws on words from Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen:

'They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.'

After the observance of two minutes’ silence, Her Majesty toured the Field meeting veterans, representatives of military organisations and members of the public who had planted tributes in memory of their fallen comrades and loved ones.

Before departing, The Queen was invited by the Dean to sign the St Margaret’s Church visitor’s book.

Watch: Field of Remembrance 2023

Visiting the Field of Remembrance

The Field of Remembrance will remain open until daily Sunday 19th November, and members of the public are invited to visit and to plant their own tributes. All donations will be given to the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.