Why is the Duchess of Cornwall replacing Prince Harry at events?
The Field of Remembrance is an important tradition for UK soldiers, honoring those who lost their lives while serving. When the temporary memorial garden opens up the Thursday before Remembrance Sunday, members of the Royal Family traditionally participate in the opening ceremony. In 2020, Camila, Duchess of Cornwall represented the House of Windsor instead of Prince Harry, who usually does the honors.
In previous years, Prince Harry led the commemorations at the opening of the Field of Remembrance. 2020 marks the first year since 2015 Harry wasn’t on hand to assist with the ceremonies. While many assume this is because Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took a step back from royal duties, the Field of Remembrance is a special occasion for Harry and other military veterans.
Honoring the fallen soldiers
Since 1928, The Poppy Factory has set up a temporary graveyard honoring fallen soldiers outside St. Margaret’s Church near Westminster Abbey. Poppies are used in the UK as a tribute to the military who fought in world wars along with other international conflicts.
The Poppy Factory is a strong supporter of the British Armed Forces. For nearly a century, the company has produced poppy flowers for both The Royal British Legion and the Royal Family in preparation for Remembrance Day. The company is also well known for supporting veterans with mental or physical disabilities and helping them find work once they return from service.
Prince Harry served in the British military from 2005 to 2015, with a focus in the Army Air Corps. Following in his father, uncle, and brother’s footsteps, Harry was a helicopter pilot in the Air Corps, becoming a Squadron Leader as well as Lieutenant Commander.
Since ending his short service commission, Harry tends to represent the Royal Family at any military-related engagements. This includes the Field of Remembrance commemorations. Once Harry took over from Prince Philip as the Captain General of the Royal Marines, it was expected of Harry to oversee all military engagements.
Prince Harry is far from the only royal to attend such events. Camila, Duchess of Cornwall was actually supposed to attend last years’ Field of Remembrance event alongside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but health issues kept her from going.
Why the Duchess of Cornwall?
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Harry wasn’t able to come back to the UK in time for Remembrance Day events. Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, recently took over the title of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles, so this would be her first event serving under her new title. Camila also has a history with the Poppy Factory, serving as a patron of the organization since 2013.
At the event, Camila laid a Cross of Remembrance in front of the “Last Post”, on the signal of the bugle. The Duchess of Cornwall was only one of a handful of people invited to the ceremony, as the second lockdown in the UK began on the 5th.
Though Prince Harry isn’t participating in any of the Remembrance Day this year, not all traditions are being broken. Prince Philip is still set to place a wreath down on the eleventh hour of Remembrance Day to lead the UK in a moment of silence. The Queen will most likely oversee the ceremony from afar due to COVID-19 as well.
Are you surprised Prince Harry isn’t appearing at the Day of Remembrance ceremony this year? Do you believe he would have participated if COVID-19 hadn’t halted travel? Let us know in the comments!