King leads Remembrance Sunday service at Cenotaph for first time as monarch
In recent years, Charles had performed the role on behalf of the Queen as the Prince of Wales, but stood before the Cenotaph in his role as head of state
The King has honoured the nation’s war dead for the first time as monarch and laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in remembrance of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Thousands of veterans proudly wearing their medals, military families and the public packed Whitehall for the Remembrance Sunday ceremony and watched as Charles placed his floral tribute at the base of the memorial on Whitehall.
In recent years, Charles had performed the role on behalf of the Queen as the Prince of Wales, but as the first chimes of Big Ben rang out at 11am on Sunday and a two-minute silence began, he stood before the Cenotaph in his role as head of state.
A volley from a gun fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from nearby Horse Guards Parade rang out to signal the start of the moment of silent reflection, punctuated by the sound of London traffic, and another loud blast marked its end.
Charles laid his wreath, designed as a tribute to ones used by his late mother and grandfather George VI and it featured his racing colours, after buglers from the Royal Marines played the Last Post.
The wreath was soon joined by others left by the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Wessex, and the Princess Royal, with the Queen Consort’s assistant equerry, Captain Edward Andersen, laying her tribute.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute to the fallen on behalf of the Government by leaving a wreath, followed by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, other party leaders, senior members of the Cabinet, military chiefs of staff and high commissioners.
Watching from the balcony of a Government building was Camilla and the Princess of Wales, and nearby on another balcony was the Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
The Remembrance Sunday ceremony has added poignancy this year as it is the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, with former veterans marching past the Cenotaph.
Retired Brigadier Jon Mullin, who served as a Lieutenant in the 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers during the conflict, is marching with South Atlantic Medal Association 82.
Reflecting on the sacrifices made to liberate the Falklands, he said: “I wanted to be part of a national commemoration to commemorate all those people who did this wonderful feat of arms and put it all together, and many have passed on in the intervening years.
“I think it’s important that the nation doesn’t forget the sacrifices.”