Kate Middleton and Prince William Take Part in Socially Distanced Remembrance Sunday Event

Kaitlin Reilly
·2 min read

It was a much different Remembrance Day for the royal family.

Kate Middleton and Prince William honored fallen servicemen and women during a Remembrance Day ceremony in the Cenotaph in London's Whitehall on Nov. 8. They were joined by Queen Elizabeth at the solemn event, as well at Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Remembrance Day, which is also known as Armistice Day, is an annual holiday celebrated in the U.K. on Nov. 11. It was created to honor the 1918 armistice that ended World War I, but has since been used to pay tribute to all people lost in military service.

Typically the Remembrance Day event, which involves laying wreaths for the late members of the United Kingdom's military, is witnessed by more than 10,000 people, including members of the armed forces, veterans, and military families. However, in order to enforce social distancing measures due to the coronavirus pandemic, that was not possible. Less than 30 veterans were invited to this year's scaled-back event and the annual military march was also cancelled.

The solemn event saw the royal family dressed in all black. As part of the holiday's tradition, the women pinned poppies to their tops, a symbol of hope that stemmed from the fact that poppies grew over the battlefields of World War I.

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While social distancing altered this year's ceremony, there was one other big change: The absence of Prince Harry, who stepped back from his royal family duties earlier this year alongside wife Meghan Markle.

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton

Harry, who served as a captain in the army for 10 years and laid his first wreath at the Cenotaph in 2009, did not attend the ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

In a Nov. 8 episode of the Declassified podcast, Harry explained that Remembrance Day holds a special place in his heart. "Remembrance Day for me is a moment for respect and for hope. I wear it [the poppy] to celebrate the bravery and determination of all our veterans," he shared. "These are the people and moments I remember when I salute, when I stand at attention and when I lay a wreath at the Cenotaph."