Prince Harry accompanied King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain to Westminster Abbey on the second day of the Spanish State Visit to the United Kingdom.
The King and Queen laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior as the Dean of Westminster, John Hall, said prayers.
The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was buried in Westminster Abbey on 11 November 1920 in the presence of King George V. The Tomb, per Westminster Abbey’s official website, “contains soil from France [and] is covered by a slab of black Belgian marble from a quarry near Namur.”
The body inside the tomb is that of a soldier exhumed from either the Aisne, the Somme, Arras or Ypres – Brigadier General L.J. Wyatt, the General Officer in charge of troops in France and Flanders looked at the bodies, covered with Union Jacks, and chose one to be buried in Westminster Abbey. The other three were reburied.
The Queen Mother started a royal wedding tradition when, in 1926, she laid her bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior on the way into the ceremony and ever since every royal bride has laid her bouquet at the tomb the day after their wedding.
Following the wreath-laying, King Felipe and Queen Letizia were treated to a tour of Westminster Abbey, accompanied by Prince Harry. They signed the visitor’s log, which had been signed by King Juan Carlos on the last Spanish State Visit in 1986.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia also posed for a photograph with the tomb of Spanish-born Queen consort Eleanor of Castile, a distant relative of the King’s, and the first wife of Edward I.
Eleanor of Castile was known in her time as a businesswoman, and for the devotion she inspired in her husband. Upon her early death, he erected a series of crosses called the Eleanor Crosses (of which only three survive now) to mark the stopping points of her body as it made its way into London.
This is the first state visit that Prince Harry has taken part in. He attended the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday night as well, seated next to Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley.