After a morning with visiting families of deployed service personnel at the Broom Farm Community Centre, the Sussexes continued the day honoring the nation’s war dead during a poignant ceremony on the grounds of Westminster Abbey.
The Duchess of Cornwall was expected to join Meghan and Prince Harry today but was told by her doctor to cancel.
A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The Duchess of Cornwall has been told by her doctor to cancel her engagements owing to a chest infection which has got progressively worse over the last few days. She will therefore not be at today’s event with Harry and Meghan.”
It is understood she was “deeply disappointed” not to be able to attend today’s event – but was determined to be well enough for the weekend’s Remembrance engagements.
It is one of the first engagements for the Royal Family ahead of Remembrance Day on November 11. Meghan and Harry will join Prince William and Kate Middleton this weekend to attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. And on Sunday, the family is expected to attend the annual service and wreath laying at the Cenotaph.
Having formerly been attended by Prince Philip, the Field of Remembrance has been visited by the Duke of Sussex since 2013, serving as a representative of the Royal Family. Today he was dressed in his Household Division ceremonial robes and added a poppy to the side of his hat.
Each November the Royal British Legion establishes a Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Westminster Abbey. The field is a sea of remembrance crosses with scarlet poppies – a symbol of remembrance and a tribute to the memory of ex-Service men and women. About 70,000 crosses are planted each year with a blanket of scarlet poppies covering the Abbey’s grounds.
The Field of Remembrance is an occasion that has taken place since November 1928, organized by George Arthur Howson, an officer in the British Army in the First World War and founder and chairman of the Poppy Factory, which has been making poppies for the Royal British Legion and the Royal Family since all the way back in 1922. Their factory team today consists of 24 veterans and their dependents, which has been part of the organization for over 40 years.
Ex-service men and women, as well as members of the public, can plant a cross or symbol carrying a personal message in memory of those who lost their lives in the service of others.
The Sussexes and representative for Camilla, placed a cross on a larger version made of poppies
A closer look at their crosses. The three royals’ monograms were spotted on the crosses.
Rear Admiral Jarvis read the ‘Exhortation to Remembrance’ followed by a two-minute silence and Reveille
The Sussexes 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 Sun reported:
“Meghan and Harry chatted to everyone from D-Day veterans to those who served in more recent conflicts and shared 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.”
Reporter Chris Ship tweeted: “A 2 year old girl – Florence Berry – looks at the crosses just laid by Harry and Meghan and the one for Camilla at @wabbey” with a picture of Florence looking at the crosses. Rebecca English reported that Florence “stole Meghan’s heart” when they met.
A video from the day:
The duchess was the definition of elegance wearing a belted Boucle Alpaca Long Wide Collar Wrap Coat in a midnight navy.
Meghan replaced the coat’s belt with the Floral Embroidered Black Belt from Prada’s Pre-Fall 2017 Parallels Collection
She wore an elegant Philip Treacy velvet hat from the Autumn/Winter 2019 Collection
It’s going to be a busy weekend for the Sussexes, where they will join Prince William and Kate Middleton to attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. And on Sunday, the family is expected to attend the annual service and wreath-laying at the Cenotaph.