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HRH The Princess Royal leads Armistice Day commemorations at the National Memorial Arboretum

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has attended the Service of Remembrance on the iconic Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, the Nation’s year-round place to Remember. The service on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, the treaty which brought an end to the First World War, was held in memory of all those who gave their lives in service to their country since 1914.

“This weekend we are gathering across the country to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the Nation, defending our freedoms and protecting our way of life,“ said Philippa Rawlinson, Director of Remembrance for the Royal British Legion and Director of the National Memorial Arboretum. “By bringing together people of all ages, from diverse communities, we are passing the baton of Remembrance to future generations, ensuring that the sacrifices made by all who serve will never be forgotten.

“The National Memorial Arboretum, the Nation’s year-round place to remember, plays a critical role in preserving the legacy of the fallen. There are countless stories of service and sacrifice encapsulated within more than 400 memorials, transforming our 150-acre estate into an inspirational space to celebrate lives lived and commemorate lives lost in service, freely open to all.”

The service was led by The Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, and included an Act of Remembrance, incorporating a two-minute silence at 11am. At the conclusion of the Act of Remembrance, HRH The Princess Royal laid a wreath on the central plinth of the Armed Forces Memorial. The wreath sat adjacent to the giant bronze wreath which captures a shaft of sunlight at 11am on 11 November each year, thanks to a carefully designed gap in the imposing Portland stone walls of the memorial.

Further individuals laying wreaths during the service, included:

  • Mr Ian Dudson CBE KStJ, His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire
  • Mrs Victoria Hawley, High Sheriff of Staffordshire;
  • James Cartlidge MP, Minister of State for Defence Procurement on behalf of the Ministry of Defence
  • Sir Michael Fabricant MP, on behalf of Parliament and His Majesty’s Government
  • Rear Admiral Richard Murrison, Royal Navy
  • Major General James R Martin, British Army
  • Air Vice-Marshal Tim Jones, Royal Air Force
  • Philippa Rawlinson, Director of Remembrance for RBL and Director of the National Memorial Arboretum
  • Group Captain Anny Reid OBE ARRC (Rtd), Chair of the National Memorial Arboretum

The service also included performances from the British Army Band Catterick and a recital by Dan Simpson, the Arboretum’s poet-in-residence, who read his new poem ‘Enduring Freedom’.

On Remembrance Sunday (Sunday 12 November), the National Memorial Arboretum hosted a Service of Remembrance at the base of the Armed Forces Memorial, which included musical performances, readings, and a two-minute silence. Thousands of members of the public stood together at the Nation’s year-round place to remember to pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed in the Armed Forces.

Engraved with the names of over 16,000 service personnel, the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum honours all those who have been killed whilst on duty, died in operational theatre or been targeted by terrorists since the end of the Second World War. The Memorial gives recognition and thanks for those who have given their lives in service but is also particularly important for the many families and friends who have no grave to visit, or who remember those in graves in far-off places.

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