The Queen will attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, leading the nation in commemorating the war dead. The monarch, 95, has been under doctors’ orders to rest for almost a month. She spent a night in hospital on 20 October undergoing preliminary tests.
The event will be given added poignancy by a return to pre-pandemic numbers of participating veterans and military, as well as onlookers.
The prime minister will be among senior politicians and members of the royal family laying a wreath at the war memorial in central London for the National Service of Remembrance.
Boris Johnson said it was a moment to “come together to remember those who sacrificed everything in service of our country”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “time for us all to stop, reflect, and remember those millions of people from Britain and the Commonwealth who have kept us safe through their service and sacrifice”.
The Remembrance service in Whitehall will return to normal this year, after the coronavirus pandemic limited the number of veterans and military and closed the ceremony to the public last year.
Hundreds of servicemen and women will line up around the Cenotaph, and nearly 10,000 veterans will march past the war memorial, watched by large crowds.
Buckingham Palace has said it is the Queen’s “firm intention” to attend the annual wreath-laying service in Whitehall.
The monarch, who lived through the second world war, is head of the armed forces and attaches great importance to the service and to commemorating the sacrifices made by servicemen and women.
She has missed several other events, including Saturday’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, after being ordered to rest by royal doctors just over three weeks ago. Other members of the royal family and the prime minister joined a crowd of thousands to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in conflicts at the annual Festival of Remembrance, which took place on Saturday night.
The Prince of Wales will lay a wreath on the top step of the Cenotaph on the Queen’s behalf as she watches from the balcony of a government building, as in previous years. A national two-minute silence will take place at 11am on Sunday to remember those who fought in past conflicts and paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Ceremonies will also take place at war memorials across the country, after being scaled back last year with the Royal British Legion advising the public to commemorate remotely by displaying a poppy in their window.