In another sombre service to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War 100 years ago, the Duchess of Cornwall was in attendance at Westminster Abbey on Monday night for a Vigil of Prayer service.
On behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, Camilla arrived at Westminster Abbey and was greeted by the Dean of Westminster at the West Gate. The solemn commemoration saw Camilla take part in a candle lit vigil, concluding the commemorations made by the entirety of the Royal Family on the 4th August.
The commemorative service was attended by some 1700 guests including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the opposition Ed Miliband, Metropolitan Police commander Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and other dignitaries and servicemen and women. The commemorations may have also had personal meaning to Camilla, as her family lost 3 brothers during the conflict, her great-uncles, one at The Battle of The Somme, also known as Passchendaele.
David Morrissey gave a reading of a Wilfred Owen piece, and other readings were given by Dame Penelope Keith, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Mark Gatiss.
Westminster Abbey faded into darkness throughout the service as part of the #LightsOut campaign. The campaign encouraged people to switch lights out between 10 and 11pm, with one single light left on, as a symbol of hope within the darkness. Many more candle lit vigils were held throughout the country.
#LightsOut was inspired by the words of wartime foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey who, on the eve of war, said, “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”.
Homes, public buildings and local authorities were all encouraged to switch lights out; Buckingham Palace joined this campaign, leaving one light on the balcony, as did the Houses of Parliament and number 10 Downing Street, where a lamp was placed on the front step.
In a final mark of respect, The Duchess of Cornwall extinguished the final flame at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at 11pm, which was the exact moment that war was declared 100 years ago, after Germany had invaded Belgium and ignored calls from European powers to retreat. The Pascal candle was left to burn in The Abbey to reflect this idea of hope during such a dark time.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s attendance at Westminster Abbey draws to a close a day of memorial services and commemorations for The Royal Family. Her Majesty The Queen attended a service at Crathie Kirk Church near Balmoral, whilst on her annual holiday, The Duke of Edinburgh attended a service at Sandringham Parish Church, The Duke of Rothesay was at Glasgow Cathedral to attend the Commonwealth’s commemoration, and Princess Anne joined a vigil service at the Chapel of St Nicholas in Castro, Isle of Wight.
Photo credit: © 2014, Chloe Howard