King leads first Remembrance Sunday service at Cenotaph as monarch following mother’s death | UK News
King Charles has led the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph for the first time as monarch to honour the nation’s war dead.
Thousands of medal-wearing veterans, military families and the public packed Whitehall in central London for the traditional ceremony and watched as the sovereign laid a wreath at the memorial.
It followed a two-minute silence signalled by the first chimes of Big Ben striking 11am and a volley from a gun fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at nearby Horse Guards Parade.
The solemn moment of reflection ended with buglers from the Royal Marines playing the Last Post.
The head of the armed forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, told Sky News there was a “special poignancy” to Remembrance Sunday this year following the Queen’s death and against the backdrop of the Ukraine war.
It also marked the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.
In Northern Ireland, Irish leader Micheal Martin and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris attended a Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Enniskillen 35 years on from an IRA bomb at the event.
Eleven people died on the day of the attack at the town’s war memorial in 1987, with another victim dying years later having never woken from a coma.
It has become a recent tradition for Ireland’s prime minister to attend the Enniskillen event.
The King was joined at the Cenotaph by other members of the Royal Family, including the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Wessex, and the Princess Royal, who also laid floral tributes.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also honoured 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.
Also in attendance were seven former prime ministers – Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
Watching from the balcony of a government building was the Queen Consort and the Princess of Wales.
A short service followed the laying of the main wreaths, with Bishop of London Dame Sarah Mullally leading a prayer.
Other ceremonies to commemorate the war dead were held across the UK.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led tributes in Edinburgh while her government’s veterans’ minister, Keith Brown, travelled to the Falkland Islands to attend a remembrance event.
The former Royal Marine served in the 1982 conflict.
The Queen, who died nine weeks ago at the age of 96, considered the Remembrance Sunday service one of the most significant and important engagements in the royal calendar.
The nation’s longest-reigning monarch lived through the Second World War as a teenager, saw service as a military mechanic and was head of the armed forces.
In an interview with Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, chief of the defence staff Admiral Radakin said: “I think Remembrance Sunday is always poignant.
“I think it’s poignant for the whole nation, this special moment when we pause to reflect on the sacrifice and commitment of others to provide our freedom today.
“I think there’s a special poignancy this year with both the loss of Her Majesty, another loss of a Second World War veteran.
“I also think it’s poignant when we have once again the spectre of war in Europe and all that that entails, and a country that’s been invaded and is fighting for its freedom.”