Charles leads nation in Remembrance Sunday tribute

The Prince of Wales laying a wreath during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London
The Prince of Wales laying a wreath during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London

The Prince of Wales has led the nation in honouring the country’s war dead on Remembrance Sunday, as the Queen observed the service from a balcony.

The Queen asked Charles to lay her wreath at the Cenotaph, in what is believed to be the first time the monarch has broken with tradition and not performed the symbolic duty when at the Whitehall service.

The Queen Elizabeth observes the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial from a balcony in Whitehall, central London

The Queen Elizabeth observes the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial from a balcony in Whitehall, central London

A two-minute silence took place at 11am and wreaths were laid at the foot of the Whitehall memorial by senior royals and political leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh watched the service from a Foreign and Commonwealth Office balcony.

The Cenotaph ceremony is a poignant and significant event in the life of the nation which normally involves the Queen leading the country in remembering those who have died in world wars and other conflicts, so Charles’ role in laying the wreath was a significant moment.

Buckingham Palace announced the change last month, which is seen as an example of the subtle shift of head of state duties from the Queen to the heir to the throne.

The annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London

The annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London

Earlier this year Philip, 96, retired from his solo public duties, but on occasion has joined the Queen at her official engagements.

Philip’s equerry laid his wreath, while Charles also laid his own wreath.

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent laid wreaths.

Other political figures laying wreaths included Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable, and Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Prime Minister Theresa May stands with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with former prime ministers Tony Blair (left) and Sir John Major (right) ,during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London

Prime Minister Theresa May stands with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with former prime ministers Tony Blair (left) and Sir John Major (right) ,during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London

Joining the Queen in observing the service from Foreign Office balconies were the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

The firing of a gun marked the end of the silence, and The Last Post was sounded by the Buglers of the Royal Marines before the wreaths were laid.

After the ceremony, thousands of veterans from the Second World War, and more recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, marched past the Cenotaph.

Charles has laid a wreath before on behalf of the Queen, in 1983 when she was out of the country, and when the Queen was in South Africa in 1999 she laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Durban.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar laid a green laurel wreath at the Cenotaph at Enniskillen in Fermanagh.

It is 30 years since an IRA bombing there killed 12 on Remembrance Sunday.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, DUP leader Arlene Foster, PSNI chief constable George Hamilton and the US representative in Belfast laid wreaths.