The Duchess of Cambridge attended the ANZAC Day Service at Westminster Abbey yesterday afternoon and was joined by the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Gloucester.
Prince Harry’s attendance was a last-minute announcement, given his wife’s impending due date. A royal source told Rebecca English of the Daily Mail that “With their baby due, his name was not printed in the programme in case he was unable to do so.”
The Duke of Gloucester attended the service, and the dawn ceremony as well, in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps; while Sir Tim Laurence, husband of Princess Anne, attended in his role as Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
ANZAC Day is held every year on 25 April to honour Australian and New Zealander soldiers and peacekeepers who have died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions. The date commemorates the Gallipoli Campaign, where 50,000 Australian soldiers and between 14,000 and 17,000 New Zealander soldiers served.
The first time ANZAC Day was celebrated in London was in 1916, a year after the Gallipoli Campaign. The Westminster Abbey service was attended by King George V, and Australian and New Zealander soldiers marched through the streets.
Per Kensington Palace, “Since , Anzac Day has become an important moment to recognise the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who died during the landings, and to honour the sacrifices of men and women in all wars. Anzac Day is commemorated as a public holiday in both countries with memorial ceremonies held at various locations.”
During the service yesterday, the Dean of Westminster made special mention of the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, praying for peace in the midst of terror.
“We honour today the bravery and determination of the men at Gallipoli,” said the Dean of Westminster.
“The spirit of national pride encourages us, as we bring to mind in particular the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. We pray for an end to terror and for the triumph of peace.”
Prince William attended an ANZAC Day service in New Zealand as part of his two-day visit to the country following the terrorist attacks in March. He joined Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where he laid a wreath.
Prime Minister Ardern spoke at the ceremony, noting that they “recommit to always remembering our shared humanity, that there is more that unites us than divides us.
“Our sense of independence is as strong as our sense of responsibility to each other and not just as nation states but as human beings.”