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Queen joins Charles and Prince William for Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·6-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Queen Elizabeth II during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the COVID-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. The Queen attended the London service. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William paid tribute to fallen military personnel at Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in central London.

Her Majesty, who served in the armed forces in the Second World War, attended the scaled back ceremony in the capital on 8 November.

The Queen, 94, appeared at the balcony to watch the commemorations at Whitehall, where she makes her annual appearance. She was joined by her lady in waiting but there were no other members of the Royal Family with her.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge were socially distanced on another balcony.

It comes after the Queen was seen in a face mask for the first time when she joined a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey on Wednesday.

In pictures released on Saturday night, she is shown in a black face covering inside the Abbey, where her equerry laid a bouquet on the tomb. The bouquet featured some of the same flowers she carried on her wedding day.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Queen Elizabeth II during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on 8 November, 2020 in London. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was at a balcony with the Duchess of Cambridge. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Sophie, Countess of Wessex during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex watched on as her husband laid a wreath. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen regularly attends a service at the Cenotaph often with her son Prince Andrew.

However the Duke of York was not in attendance this year. It is nearly a year since he stepped back from his royal duties, having admitted his friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein had distracted from the Royal Family’s work.

This year’s ceremony was also missing Prince Harry, who moved to California with his wife Meghan in March, having stepped back from senior royal duties in the same month.

According to The Sunday Times, the Duke of Sussex had requested for a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph on his behalf, but was denied as he no longer represents the monarchy.

The Queen was not told about the request, according to the paper.

Read more: Prince Charles says coronavirus reminded us 'heroes are all around' in poignant Remembrance Sunday message

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, but his brother was not permitted to have one on his behalf. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 8, 2020. - Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. This year, the service has been closed to members of the public due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Camilla and Kate shared a balcony but stood at opposite ends. (Peter Nicholls/AFP)
A worker wipes down the Royal box ahead of the the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 8, 2020. - Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. This year, the service has been closed to members of the public due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A worker wiped down the Royal box ahead of the the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall. (Photo by Chris Jackson/AFP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: (L-R) Navy Officer Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, guest, Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Navy Officer Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge on the Foreign Office balconies. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The duke served in Afghanistan during his decade in the army, and is passionate about the support life in the military offers as well as the service of the nation.

When he was a working royal, Harry had honorary military roles including Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant, RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command, but he was stripped of them as part of the deal to step back from royal life.

He marked the day in a military podcast, Declassified, where he said wearing the uniform was one of “the greatest honours there are in life”.

He added: “When I get asked about this period of my life I draw from memories, I draw from what I remember and who I remember.

“Like the first time we were shot at and who I was with, the first casualties we saw, and those we saved. And the first medivac we escorted out of contact in a race against time. One served always serving, no matter what.”

He said he wears the poppy “to recognise all those who have served; the soldiers I knew, as well as those I didn't”.

Read more: Queen wears face mask as she carries out first engagement in London since March

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Veterans during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Veterans during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on 8 November, 2020 in London. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: A military band during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
A military band during the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attends the annual Remembrance Sunday memorial at The Cenotaph on November 10, 2019 in London, England. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiègne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Princes Harry and Andrew are usually part of the ceremony, here with Prince William at The Cenotaph on 10 November, 2019 in London, England. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The service at the Cenotaph was scaled back to meet COVID safe guidelines, with members of the military standing three paces apart.

Members of the public were told not to attend, and asked to mark the day at home.

Politicians including the prime minister Boris Johnson, the leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer, and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford were also in attendance.

Prince Charles laid the monarch’s wreath on behalf of his mother, followed by his own wreath. His sister Anne, the Princess Royal, also laid a wreath, as did Prince William and the Earl of Wessex.

The Duke of Kent, who served in the Royal Scots Greys, laid a wreath, the final of the Royal Family wreaths.

The Queen watched the ceremony from the balcony of the Foreign Office for about 25 minutes. She wears a unique poppy with five petals which is said to represent the three wings of the military, the women who served and the civilians who served.

The Countess of Wessex and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence watched on from a third balcony.

Watch: Queen wears face mask as she visits Tomb of the Unknown Warrior

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: The Queen's Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II (centre) during a ceremony in Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior on November 4, 2020. The grave of the Unknown Warrior is the final resting place of an unidentified British serviceman who died on the battlefields during the First World War and whose body was brought from Northern France and buried at Westminster Abbey on 11th November 1920. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen's Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II (centre) on 4 November. (Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were part of the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance on Saturday evening, recording messages for the annual event which had to be held without an audience.

Charles, 71, said: “In a message pre-recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London, he said: “Over these extraordinarily difficult past few months, almost every aspect of our national life has been disrupted. Many of us have been separated from those we love and, together, we continue to endure anxiety and grief not previously experienced in peacetime.

“Through all this, just as in wartime, the very best of our country has been on conspicuous display. We have reaffirmed our faith in each other and in our communities, and seen afresh that service to others underpins our society.

“We have been reminded that heroes and heroines are all around us and take many forms.”

Camilla, 72, marked the contribution of military nurses, as 2020 was made the international year of nurses and midwives, marking 200 years since Florence Nightingale was born.