Prince Harry, wearing his Household Division ceremonial uniform, and Meghan planted tiny crosses to pay their respects to servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts across the decades.
The couple bowed their heads after placing a cross on a larger version made of poppies, as they looked out at a sea of crosses erected by military units and other groups associated with the First World War and other conflicts.
Meghan cut a demure figure in a Sentaler navy coat and a pair of £620 knee-length heeled boots by Tamara Mellon. She also wore a slim belt over a black dress and a navy Philip Treacy hat, with an elegant veil detail.
Harry and Meghan also visited the plots for regimental and other associations, meeting veterans from all areas of the Armed Forces, including 20 D-Day veterans, and stood still as the Last Post was played by a bugler.
Meghan crouched down to chat to Elizabeth Herschel, 96, who proudly wore the Second World War medals of her husband Stanley, a former Royal Engineer, and her own medals from her time with the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
Mrs Herschel, from Newcastle, spoke to Prince Harry and offered him some advice after his recent public issues, saying: ‘I told him you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends, and he said ‘I will remember that’.’
The couple arrived two minutes late for the event after their convoy apparently went to the wrong entrance – and the Duchess of Cornwall was forced to miss the engagement through illness, but Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, president of the Poppy Factory, placed a poppy on her behalf.
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met survivors of terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire today as they visited personnel from across the emergency services at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London.
Meghan crouches down today in London to chat to 96-year-old Elizabeth Herschel who proudly wore the Second World War medals of her husband, a former Royal Engineer, and her own medals from her time with the Auxiliary Territorial Service
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William and Kate attended the launch of new charity the National Emergencies Trust, with Kate wearing what appeared to be a £29.99 Women of the First World War poppy brooch. She wore the same design during the poppy campaign last year as well.
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As the Sussexes toured the plots Meghan crouched down to chat to 96-year-old Elizabeth Herschel who was sat in a wheelchair and proudly wore the Second World War medals of her husband Stanley, a former Royal Engineer, and her own medals from her time with the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the same conflict.
Mrs Herschel said she joked with Harry, whom she met at the same event in 2018: ‘I told him last year he would have a boy then a girl and I’m right so far.’
She also offered him some advice after his recent public issues with the press and admission he has ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’ with his brother the Duke of Cambridge.
Mrs Herschel was then at the Victoria Barracks in Windsor before being demobbed in 1945.
But Camilla had to reluctantly pull out of the engagement on the orders of her doctor after going down with a chest infection which has got progressively worse over the last few days.
It comes as the Sussexes also d details this morning about life with baby son Archie as he turns six months old – telling a group of military families during a visit yesterday that he is beginning to crawl and has two teeth.
Today, Harry wore his Household Division ceremonial uniform of a black frock. Frock coats are a form of undress, which is one formality level below full dress, and can be worn by certain officers of the Household Division.
The coats, worn at formal occasions by those not on parade in command of troops, are single-breasted and dark blue with black braiding and loops. Harry’s peaked black and red cap featured the Blues and Royals badge.
This contains the letters ER – Elizabeth Regina – and the maxim ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’, which means ‘may he be shamed who thinks badly of it’.
The couple arrived two minutes late for the event after their convoy apparently went to the wrong entrance, but made up for lost time by spending 15 minutes more than scheduled shaking the hands of servicemen and women, including 20 dignified survivors of the D-Day campaign of 1945.
Harry was wearing a Household Cavalry frock coat while Meghan was elegant in her navy blue belted coat.
Kate will meet Grenfell Tower and terror attack victims today as she visits personnel from across the emergency services
William and Kate arrive for the launch of the National Emergencies Trust at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square today
Prince William puts his hand on Kate’s back as the Cambridges arrive to attend the launch of the National Emergencies Trust
Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, president of the Poppy Factory, who organise the annual event, then invited them to lay their own crosses of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.
Harry was first, walking solemnly up to the poppy-covered tribute and slotting his small cross in before saluting, followed by Meghan who did the same. As the duchess walked backwards to her place in the line-up she stopped and bowed her head in respect for moment or two.
The couple then stood, Harry again saluting, as the Last Post was played from the parapet of St Margaret’s Church by a bandsman from the Scots Guards.
Rear Admiral Jarvis read the ‘Exhortation to Remembrance‘ followed by a two-minute silence and Reveille. The couple then set about meeting as many servicemen and women and their families as they could.
Among the first group they met was Brenda Rendell, whose late husband, Richard, was a ‘boy seaman’ in 1949 and later went on to work as an engineer on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The site is now covered with around 70,000 symbols in more than 360 plots for regimental and other associations
As the chimes of Big Ben rang out at 11am, a two-minute silence was observed by all those present outside the Abbey today
Harry, a former Army officer, wore a military frock coat and peaked cap, while Meghan was dressed in a winter coat and hat
Meghan wore a Sentaler navy coat from their Fall 2015 collection and £620 knee-length heeled boots by Tamara Mellon
The couple also met veterans from all areas of the armed forces who have served in past campaigns and more recent conflicts
Mrs Rendell, whose husband died of asbestos-related illness in 2011, told a delighted Harry how he had built the slide on the yacht that was so memorably played on by his father, Prince Charles, when he was a young boy.
‘I had so hoped to meet him to be able to tell him that story and Harry was so amazed,’ she said.
‘I wish my husband had been here to tell it himself but I was delighted to have the chance to do it. Harry just couldn’t believe it and said that he would definitely tell his father. ‘
Poorly Camilla pulls out of engagement with Harry and Meghan
Camilla was due to attend the event with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex but was told by her doctor to cancel her engagements owing to a chest infection which has got progressively worse over the last few days.
Royal sources say Camilla is ‘deeply disappointed’ not to be able to attend the Field of Remembrance service and is ‘determined to do everything she can to be well enough for the major events of the coming weekend.’
Meghan also bent down to be on the same height as Mrs Rendell, who was sat in a wheelchair, as she was told the same story. ‘She said that it was so intriguing and promised that she would tell her father-in-law.’
Harry also chatted at length to D-Day veteran 99-year-old William Allen, who told him that he would be celebrating his 100th birthday on December 7. The prince told him: ‘Let me know where the party is and I’ll be there!’
Mr Allen, from Leyton, East London, served in the army from 1939 to 1946 – holding the prestigious post of Field Marshall Montgomery’s bodyguard – and still vividly remembers travelling with him across Europe and sitting on the steps of his caravan.
He also got a hug and a kiss from Meghan, who left a small stain of make-up on his jacket shoulder. ‘I’m never washing that!’ he chuckled.
From just two crosses, laid during the first event at the Abbey in November 1928, the Field of Remembrance is now covered with around 70,000 symbols in more than 360 plots for regimental and other associations.
The couple chatted to everyone from D-Day veterans to those who served in more recent conflicts and d a hug with Poppie Hutton, aged eight, from Armagh, Northern Ireland, who was with her grandparents at the plot for the Royal Irish Regiment.
Andrea McMahon, the military unit’s assistant regimental secretary, said: ‘We asked Meghan about motherhood and she said her son Archie was six months old and said the experience was wonderful and she was really enjoying it, and having a great time.
‘Poppie was hoping to get cuddles from them and we knew how much Harry loves children and when we explained that she wanted a hug they both came over and did it.’
Harry also chatted to his great-grand mother’s former driver Arthur Barty, who was representing a plot for his former unit The Black Watch.
Mr Barty, who had driven the Queen Mother for 27 years until her death in 2002, said: ‘I covered almost 100,000 miles with the Queen Mother. I never thought for a minute I would meet His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness but it was an absolute pleasure to chat to them.’
The Exhortation to Remembrance was spoken by Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, president of the Poppy Factory, who said: ‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
Harry and Meghan also visited the plots for regimental and other groups, meeting veterans from all areas of the Armed Forces
Meghan was surrounded by elderly soldiers, recent veterans and others associated with the armed forces at today’s event
As the chimes of Big Ben rang out at 11am, a two-minute silence was observed by all those present. Harry, a former Army officer, wore a military frock coat and peaked cap, while Meghan was dressed in a stylish winter coat and hat.
Among the crowds were a group of men from Royal Marines 45 Commando based in Abroath, Scotland.
Major Sam Hughes, Officer commander of X Ray Company, said it was a proud moment for them to have been chosen to represent the Royal Marines at such a ‘hugely special event’.
‘It’s also a very special event for me personally as I have done two tours of Afghanistan and lost men out there. My grandfather lost an arm at Anzio.
‘Having the Duke as Captain general of the Royal Marines is a great honour. He’s of our peer group and has served on the frontline. He knows what modern theatre is like.
‘His grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh was very popular and I’m sure his grandson will do a a wonderful job. He’s a great ambassador.’
Harry and Meghan pay their respects to servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice
The couple also stopped to talk to Liz Longman, who was standing by the Monte Cassino Society poppies and lost her uncle, William, in the campaign.
One of the most touchinmg moments of the visit came as Harry spotted Harrison Degiorgio-Lewis, nine, whom he saluted.
Harrison was proudly wearing the medals and cap of his uncle, Lt Aaron Lewis of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, who died in Afghanistan on December 15 2008 after his base was attacked by insurgents.
Harry – who s the same birthday as Harrison – has met the little boy before and it has even been speculated that Harrison may have been the inspiration for his own baby son Archie’s middle name.
He was with his grandparents Helen and Barry, Aaron’s parents, who said they were always touched at the interest Harry took in their grandson.
The couple have set up a foundation in his memory which helps military veterans and say while they mourn his loss every day, they are so glad to be able to help others in his memory.
After their meeting Harrison, from Eastford, Essex, who wants to go into the army like his uncle, said: ‘I am wearing my uncle’s medals and cap. I never met him, although my sister was two when he was born. Prince Harry always talks to me and said he liked my name. I’ve been told he may have named his baby after me.’
His grandmother interjected: ‘Well we aren’t sure, and they are obviously too discreet to say as they clearly wouldn’t want to offend anyone. But they are certainly very lovely to Harrison. It would be very nice if true.’
Meghan also appeared entranced by little Florence Berry, two, from Uckfield, East Sussex, who looked pretty as a picture in a red Princess coat and knitted poppy with another in her hair.
Her grandmother, Rachel Berry, whose father, David Collett, 73, is Secretary of the Sussex and Surrey Yeomanry, said afterwards: ‘Meghan asked if she was cold and told me how beautiful she was. She seemed very taken with Florence.’
Ms Berry added: ‘We come here every year and it’s just wonderful to bring the family, I was very young when I first came here. We told Florence yesterday that Harry and Meghan would be here and on the way she was saying their names so I’m sure she will remember this day.
‘The couple held her hands and they both said how cold they were and Meghan said she was very pretty.’
Crosses placed by Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and on behalf of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are seen at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in London today
Ex-service men and women, as well as members of the public, can plant a cross carrying a personal message in memory of those who have lost their lives in the service of others.
In the first year only two crosses were planted, but it began a tradition that took root and has grown over the decades.
Ex-servicemen or members of the public plant the crosses in memory of their fallen comrades and loved ones.
In 1921 the British Legion adopted the idea too and the first Poppy Appeal was born.
Harry and Meghan then visited the plots for regimental and other associations, meeting veterans from all areas of the Armed Forces, including 20 D-Day veterans.
The Queen, who is patron of the Royal British Legion, yesterday visited the Royal British Legion Industries’ Village in Aylesford, which provides accommodation and welfare support to veterans and the wider Armed Forces community.
On Saturday the monarch and all the senior royals – including Charles, Camilla, William, Kate, Harry and Meghan – are due to attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.
On Remembrance Sunday the Queen will, for the third year running, watch the annual Remembrance Day Service at The Cenotaph from the balcony of the Foreign Commonwealth Office building, after aides finally admitted the ceremony had become too arduous for the 93-year-old sovereign.
The Service at the Cenotaph will be attended by all other senior members of the royal family, and following the service Prince Andrew will take the salute at a march past of veteran organisations on Horse Guards Parade.
On Monday the Duke of Kent will also attend The National Memorial Arboretum Armistice Day Service in Staffordshire.
The Field will remain open until November 17 with proce going to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
Prince William and Kate Middleton meet victims and emergency service heroes from Grenfell blaze and terror attacks as they launch national crisis response trust
Kate was believed to be wearing a Women of the First World War poppy brooch worth £29.99 for at least the second year in a row.
Kate will meet Grenfell Tower and terror attack victims today as she visits personnel from across the emergency services
The dress is a bespoke version of Emilia Wickstead’s appropriately named ‘Kate’ dress, which she’s worn in several different variations now
Kate wore Princess Diana’s glittering earrings at the engagement, pairing the dazzling diamond and sapphire drops with a cobalt blue dress.
The dress boasts a wide waist belt in the same colour as the dress, which served to accentuate the royal’s svelte frame.
The duke was joined by his grandmother, the Queen, during a visit to the Grenfell site shortly after the blaze in June 2017
The charity is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and will hear a speech from William after he meets crew members, former patients and other supporters
The duke was joined by his grandmother, the Queen, during a visit to the Grenfell site shortly after the blaze in June 2017.
The charity is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and will hear a speech from William after he meets crew members, former patients and other supporters.
Archie is CRAWLING and has two teeth! Proud Harry and Meghan details of six-month-old son as they pay tribute to military families who ‘hold it together back home’ while partners serve abroad
Prince Harry also praised those who maintain a home life while their partner is away on operations and sympathised with service personnel missing out on their child’s development while serving abroad.
The couple met families from the Welsh Guards, Coldstream Guards and Household Cavalry when they visited a coffee morning at Windsor’s Broom Farm Community Centre yesterday, in the heart of an Army housing estate.
Photographs and details of Harry and Meghan’s visit were released at 9am this morning in an Instagram post on the couple’s Sussex Royal account, which told how they ‘surprised their neighbours in Windsor’.
Harry – who returned from his visit to Japan for the Rugby World Cup final on Sunday – wore a Royal British Legion poppy on a blue jumper on top of a shirt and animatedly received a cake from a young girl called Poppy Dean.
Meghan, who wore a white blouse and black skirt, sported her poppy on a khaki green coat – and crouched down as she spoke to the children.
Today, the Duchess of Sussex will make her first visit to Westminster Abbey’s ‘Field of Remembrance‘ as she joins her husband and mother-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall, to honour the nation’s war dead.
The majority of the Coldstream Guards are on exercise in Kenya and a large proportion of the Welsh Guards are coming to the end of a long deployment to the Falklands.
Harry, who served for 10 years as an Army officer, said he was in awe of military families holding it together back home, saying: ‘It’s unbelievably hard. I have so much respect and admiration for anyone who has to deal with that.’
The royal couple meet families from the Welsh Guards, Coldstream Guards and Household Cavalry in Windsor yesterday
Meghan chatted to parents on the visit to the centre in Windsor yesterday about her son, who was six months old yesterday
He said: ‘I can’t imagine what it’s like to miss so much as they change so quickly.’
Harry and Meghan’s post on their Instagram page
Yesterday, The Duke and Duchess surprised their neighbours in Windsor at a coffee morning for military families in a community centre located in the heart of the Army housing estate. Every year during the month of November we pause to remember and honour all those who have served their country here in the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world. Their Royal Highnesses also wanted to show support for the families of service personnel who are currently deployed overseas.
As we lead up to Remembrance Sunday, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will join Her Majesty The Queen and other Members of the Royal Family at various commemoration events, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and the Cenotaph.
During the visit yesterday, Their Royal Highnesses met with young families who d their experiences as parents and as couples who are often apart from their loved ones for months at a time. A reminder that a life of service does not simply describe the person wearing the uniform, but the entire family.
Meghan chatted to parents about her son, who was six months old yesterday, and d stories about his development with Amy Thompson, whose husband Brad is attached to the Welsh Guards.
Ms Thompson said: ‘My daughter Aeris is the same age as Archie and we talked about weaning and the children beginning to crawl – she’s just a normal mum and it was like talking to a friend.’
During the visit, Harry was pictured holding a little girl while Meghan high-fived a toddler.
Army spouse Leigh Smith took her eight-year-old daughter Molly to meet the royal visitors and the youngster said: ‘Meghan promised not to tell anyone that I was off school. She asked me who my best friend was.’
Ms Smith added: ‘We had a party when Harry and Meghan got married and we’ve followed their story ever since, so it was an amazing experience for Molly to shake hands with them. It’s really special and a lovely boost for the whole community.’
Coldstream Guards welfare officer Captain Colin Lewis said the visit was a welcome tonic after a tough 18 months.
The officer said: ‘The regiment are really appreciative of the support the families provide by picking up the burden when the service person is away.
Harry, who served for 10 years as an Army officer, said he was in awe of military families holding it together back home
Photographs and details of the visit were released at 9am today in an Instagram post on the couple’s Sussex Royal account
‘They are very down to earth and they’ve had a snapshot of the entire community here by talking to lots of people from different backgrounds.’
Tariq Baksh, from the Household Cavalry welfare team, also felt that the couple could relate to many of the families as young parents, saying: ‘They’re a modern family and completely empathised with people – our families realised that they’re no different.’
She said: ‘It’s amazing that Harry and Meghan found time to fit this in to their busy schedule – they shook hands with every single person. It brought together lots of people and now they will always have this amazing memory in common.’