The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have praised the work of the Armed Forces and those who have sacrificed and served above themselves in special messages at this year’s Festival of Remembrance.
In pre-recorded messages, filmed at the Royal Albert Hall, Prince Charles and Camilla each offered up words of thanks to those serving and saving lives.
“This year, as we pause to remember all those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of this Country and the Commonwealth, we do so in circumstances unlike any we have ever known,” Prince Charles said.
“Over these extraordinarily difficult past few months, almost every aspect of our national life has been disrupted. Many of us have been separated from those we love and, together, we continue to endure anxiety and grief not previously experienced in peacetime.
“Through all this, just as in wartime, the very best of our country has been on conspicuous display. We have reaffirmed our faith in each other and in our communities, and seen afresh that service to others underpins our society. We have been reminded that heroes and heroines are all around us and take many forms.”
Prince Charles drew a connection to the heroes of wartime and how they have become the heroes who have boosted spirits during the pandemic lockdowns.
“We have seen, too, how much the wartime generation continues to teach us. The actions of veterans, Captain Sir Tom Moore and Private Joseph Hammond, or of Margaret Payne, and many others like them, offer a shining example of selfless commitment, and of how even those in their later years can achieve so much good by placing others ahead of themselves.
“Their example continues to guide our Servicemen and women today. Throughout this pandemic, our armed forces have stood side by side with our medical professionals, key workers and emergency services in the fight against coronavirus, whilst maintaining the defence of our nation at home and abroad. In many cases, this has meant longer spells separated from their families, and extended periods of isolation in order to safeguard the integrity of vital elements of our Defence.
Prince Charles ended his message with a thank you to the Armed Forces, saying, “To our armed forces today, and those who came before them; to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and never returned; and to our veterans on whose service our treasured liberty rests – we renew our heartfelt and eternal gratitude. Your example continues to inspire and guide us all.”
The Duchess of Cornwall’s message focused on praising the work of military and medical nursing personnel, touching upon this year being designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
“As the proud Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Medical Service, it is a great honour for me to have this opportunity to pay tribute to our wonderful nurses, both military and civilian,” the Duchess’s message began.
“This year has not turned out as any of us could have anticipated. But it has truly been the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Military nurses have worked alongside their NHS colleagues across the United Kingdom, using the skills learnt in conflict in the battle against COVID. You have been at the very epicentre of the nation’s response to the pandemic, providing a critical line of defence with compassion and dignity, and bringing hope and healing to so many. And you have done all this while being held at readiness for military deployment. For your service, we are deeply in your debt.
“And yet, as we know, behind each act of service lies a sacrifice. This can take many forms: missing your much-needed rest; enforced separation from your families; and even putting your own lives at risk. Today, as we reflect on sacrifice, we remember those nurses who have given their lives in the fight against COVID.”
Camilla’s message finished, “Today, in our military nurses, we see the same unswerving determination to give the best possible medical care whenever and wherever you are called. Your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. To each and every one of you thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
The annual Festival of Remembrance is a celebration of the Armed Forces that usually takes place at Royal Albert Hall with the entire Royal Family in attendance.
This year, organisers have turned the event into a virtual and socially-distanced programme that will feature pre-recorded segments that touch upon the 75th anniversaries of the end of the Second World War, of Victory in Europe Day and Victory in Japan Day.
The 2020 Festival of Remembrance airs on Saturday night on the BBC.