Anzac Day in London With The Dukes of Gloucester and Cambridge. And The Red Poppy Pins

HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, a first cousin to the Queen, and HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, represented Her Majesty during ANZAC day in London, on April 25, 2022.

The event marked the anniversary of the start of the First World War Gallipoli landings and is a national day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand.

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The Duke of Gloucester laid a Wreath during the Dawn Service at Hyde Park Corner, while The Duke of Cambridge laid a Wreath at the Cenotaph on Whitehall before attending the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey with The Duchess of Cambridge.

Photo credit: The Royal Family

In Australia and New Zealand, both Dominions of the United Kingdom, Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all those who served and died in wars and peacekeeping operations, and the contribution and suffering of "all those who have served".

Photo credit: The Royal Family

Prince William took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph, where some 300 to 400 former and serving military personnel and their families and members of veterans associations were gathered to witness the event.. 

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Anzac Day observance in London began in 1916, when the Queen's grandfather, King George V, attended a Service at Westminster Abbey. The Queen traditionally attended the commemoration and church service, with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by senior members of the British royal family.

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This year, however, due to the issue of her mobility, the Queen declined to attend the service and appointed her grandson and cousin instead to represent her.

Photo credit: Getty Images/The Royal Family

The Red Poppy Pins

Traditionally, British royals wore "red poppy pins" during attendance at any military-related commemoration days, most notably, the Remembrance Day and Anzac Day, which commemorate those who lost their lives at war.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wore red poppy pins on Anzac day. Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

The red poppy is a symbol of remembrance in the United Kingdom and has been in use since World War I as a sign of respect to servicemen who died during the war, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.

Photo credit: The Royal Family. HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, laid a Wreath in Hyde Park
Photo credit: Getty Images

The Duke of Gloucester attended the Dawn Service at the New Zealand Memorial at Hyde Park, and before he laid a Wreath, "haka", a traditional New Zealand dance, was performed.

The Prince of Wales released a message for the occasion:

“As we pause to reflect on the sacrifice of the Armed Services personnel of Australia and New Zealand in two World Wars, and in other conflicts and peacekeeping operations, our thoughts will also be with those communities around the world who are being torn apart by violence and conflict, and those who are fighting for freedom in the face of oppression.” – The Prince of Wales

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Where does the red poppy originate?

During Remembrance Day and Anzac Day, members of the British royal family traditionally pinned a red poppy on their breasts when attending the events. 

According to an article from Town and Country, during World War I, after a particularly bloody battle in the fields of Flanders in Belgium, thousands of bright red flowers mysteriously appeared.

The Poet, John McCrae, a lieutenant colonel in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, who had just lost a friend to the war, was so moved by this stunning bloom that he wrote a poem about the flowers' resilience, titled "In Flanders Fields".

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her time with the royal family, attending Remembrance Day. Photo credit: Getty Images

The poem became popular that the Royal British Legion, a charity in the United Kingdom that supports veterans and their families, was inspired to sell handmade poppies every November 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I, which started the "poppy emblem" tradition.
The Queen pinned five red poppies on her left breast during Remembrance Day. Photo credit: Getty Images

Her Majesty, the Queen was often seen wearing five red poppies during Remembrance Day. Although Buckingham Palace never commented on the exact reason, many experts speculated each poppy of Her Majesty represents each service in the World Wars: the Army, the Navy, the RAF, the Civil Defense, and the women.

Wild poppies still bloom in Flanders every year. 

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