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William and Kate arrive as King Charles to lead first Remembrance Day service to honour war dead 

Prince William and wife Kate Middleton have been pictured arriving at the Cenotaph as the nation prepares to fall silent to honour those killed in wars since World War One – and the King is set to lead a moving Remembrance Day service for the first time as monarch.

A two-minute silence will take place across the UK at 11am and wreaths will be laid by members of the royal family, senior politicians and faith representatives at the Cenotaph in London.

Dignitaries are arriving at the event, as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has left Downing Street with his wife to attend the event. Labour Leader sir Keir Starmer has also arrived. Other senior politicians including Suella Braverman, Penny Mordaunt and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have all been pictured arriving ahead of the 11am ceremony.

Parades and services are being held around the country, with Charles taking the lead at the Cenotaph, accompanied by members of the armed forces and leading politicians. 

The government has announced free rail transport is available to all veterans today to allow them to attend services more easily amid the cost of living crisis. 

Charles is laying a new poppy wreath incorporating a ribbon of his racing colours, with the design a tribute to the ones used by both his late mother and his grandfather George VI.

Meanwhile Big Ben will chime eleven times at 11am, as it returns to service after years of maintenance and repair. 

As Charles leads the nation at the Cenotaph for the first time as King, the service will be a poignant moment for the royal family. In a moving ceremony on Friday, the late Queen and her commitment to war veterans was remembered in an evening attended by members of the royal family including the Prince and Princess of Wales and Princess Anne.

Today’s service also marks the 40th anniversary of the war in the Falklands, in which 255 British personnel lost their lives. 

King Charles will attend the London service for the first time as monarch, and lay a wreath with a ribbon of his own racing colours, as well as a tribute to his mother’s colours

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive at the service at the Cenotaph, at which Prince William will lay a wreath

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive at the service at the Cenotaph, at which Prince William will lay a wreath

Kate Middleton looks reflective and the picture of grace ahead of today's Remembrance service, which will feature prayers and hymns

Kate Middleton looks reflective and the picture of grace ahead of today’s Remembrance service, which will feature prayers and hymns

Ian Blackford, Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak (L-R) hold their wreaths in preparation as they wait for the arrival of King Charles III

Ian Blackford, Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak (L-R) hold their wreaths in preparation as they wait for the arrival of King Charles III

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty leave 10 Downing Street as they head towards the Cenotaph

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty leave 10 Downing Street as they head towards the Cenotaph

Deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner leading a parade for Remembrance Sunday in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester on Sunday

Deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner leading a parade for Remembrance Sunday in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester on Sunday

Some 10,000 veterans and military personnel are involved in today's march, which ends at the Cenotaph

Some 10,000 veterans and military personnel are involved in today’s march, which ends at the Cenotaph

A Chelsea pensioner prepares to take part in today's emotional Remembrance Day service, complete with a poppy-adorned blanket

A Chelsea pensioner prepares to take part in today’s emotional Remembrance Day service, complete with a poppy-adorned blanket

Veterans amass on a chilly but dry morning in London as they get ready to march to the Cenotaph in the first Remembrance Sunday led by King Charles III

Veterans amass on a chilly but dry morning in London as they get ready to march to the Cenotaph in the first Remembrance Sunday led by King Charles III

Hundreds of people are arriving in and around Westminster as final preparations for the parade and service get underway

Hundreds of people are arriving in and around Westminster as final preparations for the parade and service get underway

Labour leader Keir Starmer in Downing Street, London, ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service

Labour leader Keir Starmer in Downing Street, London, ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service

Many veterans have already marched past the Cenotaph, watched by crowds which are ten-deep in some places

Many veterans have already marched past the Cenotaph, watched by crowds which are ten-deep in some places

Current members of the British Armed Forces attend the parade in London ahead of two minutes of silence at 11am

Current members of the British Armed Forces attend the parade in London ahead of two minutes of silence at 11am

The armed forces are watched as they parade past the Cenotaph by veterans and members of the public gathered for the occasion

The armed forces are watched as they parade past the Cenotaph by veterans and members of the public gathered for the occasion

Some 10,000 veterans are to take part in today's march, making it one of the largest regular gatherings of Veterans in the UK

Some 10,000 veterans are to take part in today’s march, making it one of the largest regular gatherings of Veterans in the UK

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan arrives near the Cenotaph as the nation prepares to pay its respects to war dead

Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP in the House of Commons, arrives to pay his respects to those killed fighting for the UK

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (left) and Ian Blackford (right) approach Downing Street ahead of the service at 11am

Former PM Liz Truss arrives in central London ahead of today's remembrance service

Former PM Boris Johnson arrives in central London ahead of today's remembrance service

Former PM Liz Truss (left) and former PM Boris Johnson (right) arrive in central London ahead of today’s remembrance service

Chelsea Pensioners arrive to form up at Horse Guards Parade as they prepare to march along Whitehall for the Remembrance Sunday service

Chelsea Pensioners arrive to form up at Horse Guards Parade as they prepare to march along Whitehall for the Remembrance Sunday service

Her late Majesty regarded Remembrance Sunday as one of the most important royal duties and missed it only a handful of times

Her late Majesty regarded Remembrance Sunday as one of the most important royal duties and missed it only a handful of times

Many veterans arrived either in uniform or proudly wearing their service medals on their chest, alongside ordinary members of the public

Many veterans arrived either in uniform or proudly wearing their service medals on their chest, alongside ordinary members of the public

During today’s service, Prince William is laying the wreath previously laid by his father. The wreath, bearing the colours of the Prince of Wales, will also bear a brand-new ribbon in Welsh red.

As well as the King and Queen Consort, many members of the royal family are in attendance this morning.

This includes the Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Anne and Prince Edward and the Countess of Sussex.

Numerous former Prime Ministers including Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron and Tony Blair are also there, some of whom are laying wreaths at the Cenotaph.

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer, as the leaders of the two largest political parties in the UK, will also lay a wreath. 

At around 10:40am, the march past the Cenotaph paused temporarily while Scottish members of the UK’s armed forces, the Fourth Battalion of Highlanders, played the bagpipes, accompanied by drums.

At 10.58, the military parade was brought to attention as King Charles III arrived.

Big Ben rang eleven times to mark the beginning of the two minutes of silence, and a somber hush fell over the crowd. 

Crowds are lining the streets of London, with war veterans including Chelsea Pensioners preparing to take part in the march. 

The two-minute silence will end with the Last Post before the wreaths are laid. 

The service is being led by the Lord Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Elisabeth Mullally. She has held the role since 2018. 

The last Labour Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, arrives looking solemn to pay his respects to those veterans lost in conflicts abroad

The last Labour Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, arrives looking solemn to pay his respects to those veterans lost in conflicts abroad

Veterans gather at Horse Guards Parade as they prepare to take part in the first Remembrance parade since the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Veterans gather at Horse Guards Parade as they prepare to take part in the first Remembrance parade since the death of Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen, who died nine weeks ago at the age of 96, considered Remembrance Sunday, which commemorates the war dead, one of the most significant and important engagements in the royal calendar.

She first laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in 1945 when she was still a princess. 

The nation’s longest-reigning monarch, who lived through the Second World War as a teenager and was head of the armed forces, only missed seven Cenotaph services during her reign, including in 2021 due to a back sprain.

A wreath will also be laid on the Queen Consort’s behalf for the first time as Camilla watches from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.

Around 10,000 Royal British Legion veterans, representing 300 different Armed Forces and civilian organisations, are taking part in a march.

All UK veterans are entitled to free rail travel today in a bid to make it easier to attend services around the country.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: ‘We owe our freedoms to the brave men and women of our armed forces.

‘I hope this gesture of free rail travel will allow as many as possible to pay their respects at Remembrance Day services this Sunday.’

Ahead of today’s service, the Tower of London tweeted a photo of its sea of poppies from 2014, adding: ‘We will remember them’. 

The late Queen Elizabeth first laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in 1945, when she was still a Princess

Police had already closed roads and were manning the streets around Westminster as the city woke up this morning

Police had already closed roads and were manning the streets around Westminster as the city woke up this morning

Those wishing to attend this year's Remembrance ceremony at the Cenotaph queue near Westminster Bridge around 8am on Sunday morning

Those wishing to attend this year’s Remembrance ceremony at the Cenotaph queue near Westminster Bridge around 8am on Sunday morning

The Cenotaph will be covered in wreaths by the end of today's ceremony, with the royal family and politicians laying the first of many (Pictured: wreaths lie around the Cenotaph after the 2021 ceremony)

The Cenotaph will be covered in wreaths by the end of today’s ceremony, with the royal family and politicians laying the first of many (Pictured: wreaths lie around the Cenotaph after the 2021 ceremony)

As well as serving members of the UK forces, there will be around 10,000 veterans parading past the Cenotaph on Sunday

As well as serving members of the UK forces, there will be around 10,000 veterans parading past the Cenotaph on Sunday

A tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II is seen in the Women's Royal Army Corp area of the 94th Field Of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on November 11

A tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II is seen in the Women’s Royal Army Corp area of the 94th Field Of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on November 11

Queen Elizabeth’s commitment to the cause – even as she prepared to pass on the baton

On Sunday, during the official Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph, the King will lay a new poppy wreath incorporating a ribbon of his racing colours; scarlet, purple and gold.

The design is a tribute to the wreaths laid by both his late mother and his grandfather, George VI.

As Charles leads the nation at the Cenotaph for the first time as King, the service will be a poignant moment for the royal family.

The Queen Consort will view the service from a balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building, and a wreath will be laid on her behalf. 

Both wreaths will include handwritten cards bearing their new cyphers.

The late Queen first commemorated Remembrance Sunday on November 11, 1945 – the first following World War II and before she acceded the throne.

She was forced to miss last year due to spraining her back the morning of the event.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘The Queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today’s Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph. Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.’

The late Queen only missed six other Cenotaph ceremonies during her 70-year reign: on four occasions when she was on overseas visits to Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968, Kenya in 1983 and South Africa in 1999. 

She was not present during the 1959 and 1963 services as she was pregnant with her two youngest children.   

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They will be joined by an estimated 10,000 members of the public who will line Whitehall to watch the service.

Among those marching will be 100-year-old Second World War veterans and those who served in recent conflicts including in Afghanistan.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, 400 members of the South Atlantic Medal Association will march past the Cenotaph.

They will also be joined by bereaved family members with the youngest marcher aged eight.

Buckingham Palace has announced the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra will attend the service on Sunday.

In 2017, Charles began placing a wreath on his mother’s behalf as she watched from the Foreign Office balcony.

The change was seen as a subtle shift of head-of-state duties.

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said there is a ‘special poignancy’ to Remembrance Sunday this year.

In an interview broadcast on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, he 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.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid tribute to Ukraine’s ‘brave soldiers’ ahead of today’s service. 

He said: ‘This year more than ever, we are reminded of the huge debt of gratitude we owe those who lay down their lives to protect their country.

‘As we fall silent together on Remembrance Sunday, we will honour the memories of the men and women we have lost and pay tribute to the brave soldiers of Ukraine as they continue their fight for freedom.’

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘Remembrance Sunday is a time to reflect upon the sacrifices made by our veterans and service personnel on operations around the world.

‘We must never forget those who gave their lives in defence of our values and our great nation.

‘All of us will also be thinking of those brave Ukrainians who are fighting for their very own survival to defend freedom and democracy for all, just as the UK and Commonwealth soldiers did in both world wars.

‘Today, members of the UK Armed Forces at Cenotaph and around the world will come together to honour all those who came before them.’

The Royal British Legion’s Director of Remembrance, Philippa Rawlinson said: ‘As we come together on Remembrance Sunday, we pay tribute to Her Late Majesty The Queen, The Royal British Legion’s Patron of 70 years and longest serving Commander-in-Chief of the British military.

‘Her Late Majesty was dedicated to duty and epitomised the service and commitment shown by our Armed Forces community, thousands of who will march past the Cenotaph where she laid her wreath each year.

‘Her Late Majesty’s deep bond with the military lives on with His Majesty The King and The Royal Family. Similar Royal British Legion ceremonies will be uniting communities across the nation in Remembrance and today is an opportunity for us all to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of all those who serve, past and present.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, (L) Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales (2L), Britain's King Charles III (2R) and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort (R) attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall

Catherine, Princess of Wales, (L) Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales (2L), Britain’s King Charles III (2R) and Britain’s Camilla, Queen Consort (R) attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall

Princess Kate was glowing in a tailored belted black blazer and flowing calf length skirt, with three poppies pinned to her collar. She wore her hair down with drop pearl earrings and a matching necklace

Princess Kate was glowing in a tailored belted black blazer and flowing calf length skirt, with three poppies pinned to her collar. She wore her hair down with drop pearl earrings and a matching necklace

Prince William and King Charles chat fondly while attending the ceremony, which doubled as  a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth

Prince William and King Charles chat fondly while attending the ceremony, which doubled as  a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth

Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex stood and watched part of the service behind Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife

Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex stood and watched part of the service behind Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife

Meanwhile King Charles, the Queen Consort and senior members of the royal family gathered at the Royal Albert Hall to pay their respects at the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance on Friday.

The event is one of a series the royals are attending to commemorate the nation’s war dead, ahead of today’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

The service doubled as a tribute to the late Queen and her contribution to the cause, as Royal British Legion patron, the longest serving Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces and the former Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor; after rising through the ranks of the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a driver, mechanic and junior commander.

Her family – and the nation – watched on as archive footage of the former monarch was played at the Royal Albert Hall. 

In one clip, the Queen spoke of the ‘tremendous contribution’ the Armed Forces made to Britain’s ‘standing and reputation’ during her reign. 

‘When Prince Philip and I were married, Britain had just endured six years of war, emerging battered but victorious. 

‘Prince Philip had served with the Royal Navy in the Far East while I was in the ATS learning to drive an ambulance with care. 

‘The wartime generation – my generation – is resilient and it is with humility and pleasure on behalf of the entire country, indeed the whole free world, that I say to you all: thank you.’

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