King Charles leads Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph

The King leads the nation in a two-minute silence to remember those who lost their lives in conflict, as Sam Holder reports

The nation fell silent on Sunday to honour those who died in conflict as the King led a moving Remembrance Day service.

The King led a two-minute silence and laid a wreath in front of the Cenotaph, the Prince of Wales was among senior royals standing behind him and also laid a wreath.

The Queen and Princess of Wales watched on from an overlooking balcony.

A major policing operation remained in place overnight and into Sunday after far-right violence on Saturday saw a group try to reach the Cenotaph an hour before the two minute silence for Armistice Day was observed.

Wearing the uniform of the Marshal of the Royal Air Force with greatcoat, poppy and sword, the King laid a wreath similar to the one produced for King George VI.

The wreath featured 41 open style poppy petals made from bonded fabric.

It was mounted on an arrangement of black leaves – traditional for sovereign’s wreaths – of 27-inch diameter ribbon and bow using the colours from the King’s racing silk – scarlet, purple and gold.

King Charles and The Prince of Wales during the service. Credit: PA

Senior politicians assembled near the Cenotaph, among them and carrying wreaths were Rishi Sunak, Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Ed Davey, James Cleverly and Suella Braverman.

The Prince of Wales also laid a wreath, as did the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other senior politicians.

Major Ollie Plunket of The Rifles, equerry to Camilla, laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen, who was watching from a balcony with the Princess of Wales.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen’s wreath closely resembled the one produced for the Queen Mother.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) hold wreaths during the Remembrance Sunday service. Credit: PA

Almost 10,000 veterans and 800 Armed Forces personnel from all three services took part in a march-past. They were be joined by thousands of members of the public who lined Whitehall to watch the service on Sunday.

Nine D-day veterans participated in the Remembrance Day service. The oldest is Joe Randall, 100, who marched with the Spirit of Normandy Trust.

The large crowd of onlookers watching the Remembrance Day ceremony in Whitehall sang God Save The King.

Among those marching were nuclear test veterans, who for the first time wore a medal acknowledging their contribution.

After 70 years of waiting for recognition, those exposed to the effects of nuclear bombs during the UK’s testing programme were given a medal – depicting an atom surrounded by olive branches – for the Remembrance Sunday service.

Veterans on Whitehall prepare to take part in the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London. Credit: PA

More than 300 different Armed Forces and civilian organisations were represented, as well as some 300 veterans not affiliated with an association who have been invited to join for the first time.

People of all ages joined the march, from 100-year-old Second World War veterans to bereaved children, with the youngest aged eight.

It will also mark 70 years since the end of fighting in the Korean War and 20 years since the start of the UK’s military operations in Iraq.

Thousands of veterans proudly wearing their medals march past the Cenotaph Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The courage and commitment shown by our servicemen and women, both today and throughout the generations that came before them, is humbling and I know many across the country will be honouring their memory today in quiet reflection.

“Recent events have served as a stark reminder that we cannot take the hard-earned peace we live in for granted, which is why I am honoured to lay a wreath on behalf of the nation in the memory of all those that have lost their lives defending our country and the values we hold so close.

“I am determined to ensure we never forget the ultimate sacrifice they have made.”

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As the nation comes together to remember all those who died serving their country, we remember with gratitude the sacrifices of the entire Armed Forces community and thank all those in uniform who protect our country and its way of life.”

Police arrested 126 people in an effort to contain disorder on the streets of central London in the hours before a pro-Palestinian march. Credit: PA

The Metropolitan Police is under pressure to prevent further disruption as Mr Sunak told Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley he expects the far-right “thugs” who clashed with police and “Hamas sympathisers” on Saturday’s pro-Palestinian march to face the “full and swift force of the law”.

Nine officers were injured as they prevented a violent far-right crowd from reaching the war memorial while a Remembrance service was taking place on Saturday. Over the course of the day more than 100 arrests were made, the "vast majority" of them among the counter protesters, police have said.

The number of officers on duty in London is double the usual amount, with 1,375 officers on Sunday, and the Cenotaph has a dedicated 24-hour police presence until the conclusion of Remembrance events.

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