The Duchess of Cambridge shared a fond moment with Prince Charles last night as they joined other family members for the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.
For the first time, it was apparent how slimmed down the Family has become, with fewer in the Royal Box than in 2019 – the year before Covid struck.
The Queen was not herself in attendance – marking only the sixth time she has missed the annual event – as she is still resting on medical advice – but she is expected to be present at the ceremony at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.
Neither Prince Andrew nor Prince Harry were among the group, since both have stepped down from official duties. The Duchess of Sussex also did not attend.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the diminished family group, which also included Prince William, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra
Pictured: The Royal Family attending the Festival in the Royal Box than in 2019 – the year before Covid struck
Members of the Royal Family took their seats at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall this evening, the Queen was not in attendance
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were amongst the royals who joined the Prince of Wales in the Royal Box this evening
The 100-year anniversary of the Royal British Legion was also highlighted, with poet Tomos Roberts will give an emotional rendition of his specially commissioned piece ‘Alive with Poppies’ at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall
Alfie Boe, Gregory Porter (pictured), Cynthia Erivo, Alexandra Burke and Ramin Karimloo all led performances
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the diminished family group, which also included Prince William, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
All were dressed in dark clothing as they watched from the box, clapping and giving standing ovations throughout the service.
Prince Charles and Camilla were joined at the front of the Royal box by Prince William and Kate ahead of the Festival.
In remembrance of her late mother-in-law, Kate wore Princess Diana’s Collingwood pearl earrings and pearl bracelet. And in what royal-watchers saw as a nod to her three children, she chose a crystal and gold-plated three-poppy brooch, which is sold for £45 on the Royal British Legion’s website.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sat in a box on the left hand side of the royal box, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sat in a box on the other side. The Festival was dedicated ‘to all those that have served and sacrificed from Britain and the Commonwealth’, as well as those who lost their lives protecting others during the pandemic.
The ceremony was started by singer Alfie Boe who performed a rendition of the Take That song ‘Greatest Day’.
Guests inside the Royal Albert Hall wore wristbands throughout the service, which lit up throughout the night, at one point turning red
Paying their respects: Prince Charles, alongside Camilla, were seen solemnly clapping with the rest of the guests inside the hall during the Festival. And Prime Minister Boris Johnson also joined in with the clapping
At one point in the Festival, members of the different arms of the military were welcomed into the Albert Hall to rounds of applause
Walking down the stairs in the venue, the military personnel cut solemn figures during the performances as they were welcomed onto the stage
Every arm of the military forces were welcomed into the venue by the crowds, all paying their respects to those who had lost their lives
The 100-year anniversary of the Royal British Legion was also highlighted, with poet Tomos Roberts will give an emotional rendition of his specially commissioned piece ‘Alive with Poppies’ at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.
After the poem finished, the audience lifted their wristbands – which glowed red, creating a similar effect to the image of a field of poppies.
American singer Gregory Porter was the next guest to take to the stage, performing a song in the centre of the venue.
The Royal Marines fanfare team opened the ceremony and were then followed by Royal British Legion members carrying blue and gold standards.
The blue indicates loyalty and fidelity and the gold represents trial by fire.
Prince Charles is seen entering the Royal Albert Hall alongside the Duchess of Cornwall this evening before the Festival of Remembrance
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined Prince Charles and Camilla in the royal box at the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall this evening
William and Kate, both wearing poppies, smiled warmly as they were greeted at the entrance to the venue this evening
The Duchess of Cornwall also looked to be in high spirits as she arrived at the annual Remembrance festival this evening
Following the performance, the Chelsea Pensioners were welcomed into the venue to a rapturous round of applause.
Attendees could be seen wiping away tears as a video showed Sallie and David Wright telling the story of their son James – who was killed in Afghanistan 10 years ago.
Sixteen bereaved families then entered the hall to a standing ovation.
To mark 100 years of the British Legion, 100 members of the organisation were welcomed to the centre of the Albert hall by a wave of applause, as the song ‘You raise me up’ played.
Cynthia Erivo, Alexandra Burke and Ramin Karimloo also led performances at the Royal British Legion’s annual event.
Few of those attending the annual event wore face coverings but attendees were asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex were among the members of the royal family who arrived at the venue earlier this evening
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was also in attendance at the event this evening, and was seated in his own box to the left-hand side of the royal box
Boris Johnson was seated to the side of the royal box, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also in attendance, on the other side of the Royal family to the Prime Minister
The Royal Albert Hall’s guidance states: ‘Please help us to keep everyone safe by wearing a face covering where possible and by respecting other people’s personal space in order to reduce your risk and the risk to others.’
The service pays tribute to all those who lost in their lives in conflicts.
This year’s show marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion charity. Its first royal guest was the then Prince of Wales who later became Edward VIII. Since 1927, the show has been broadcast by BBC Radio and was screened live last night on BBC One.
It also marked the 30th anniversary of the first Gulf War and the 10th anniversary of the end of military operations in Iraq.