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Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and Sir Timothy Laurence visit Belgium to commemorate Passchendaele

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, alongside Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, arrived in Belgium on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele.

2017 marks 100 years since one of the bloodiest battles of World War One which saw half a million Allied and German soldiers get either killed, wounded or went missing.

Speaking from Ypres, the Duke of Cambridge said the United Kingdom and Belgium “stand together in remembrance of that sacrifice”.

He said: “Members of our families; our regiments; our nations; all sacrificed everything for the lives we live today.

“During the First World War Britain and Belgium stood shoulder to shoulder. One hundred years on, we still stand together, gathering as so many do every night, in remembrance of that sacrifice.”

The second-in-line to the throne joined King Philippe of Belgium in laying wreaths at the Menin Gate in the city.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the gate displays the names of 54,391 British fatalities who have no known grave.

Sir Timothy Laurence, the husband of Princess Anne, was also in attendance as he is the Vice-Chair of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Earlier on Sunday, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Last Post ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Ypres Memorial. They were joined by 200 descendants whose relatives are named on the Gate. These descendants will act as representatives from nations who fought on the Salient.

In the evening, William and Catherine visited Market Square in Ypres, for an event that will tell the story of the four years of war on the Salient with performances and music set to a backdrop of light projections onto the historic Cloth Hall.

On Monday, The Prince of Wales will join the Duke and Duchess for the commemorations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery for the official events to mark the centenary of Passchendaele.

The heir-to-the-throne will then officially open the Zonnebeke Church Dugout, a preserved First World War dugout which forms part of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele.

He will open the nearby British Memorial Poppy Garden in Passchendaele Memorial Park alongside The King and Queen of Belgium.

After he has opened both the dugout and poppy garden, the prince will join hundreds of guests at the Exhibition Field at The Passchendaele Memorial Park to meet families and descendants of those who died at Passchendaele.

Prince Charles will then visit the Welsh National Service of Remembrance at the Welsh National Memorial Park to remember the Welsh soldiers who lost their lives in battle.

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