Editor’s Note: I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Things are horribly behind schedule on the blog – I am hoping to catch up with everything before the new year starts – definitely stay tuned!
The British Royal Family is traditionally celebrating Christmas at the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. The Royals are attending a church service this morning at St. Mary Magdalene Church. Most Royals walked from Sandringham Estate to the small church, while the Queen traveled by car with the Duke of York. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex walked with the Prince of Wales.
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Following last night’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, the Queen and members of the Royal Family are today commemorating the fallen during a ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London. On this day, all fallen members of the armed forces are remembered in Britain. This specific date is chosen because of 11 November being Armistice Day, the day on which the First World War ended in 1918. Many members of the Royal Family are present each year. Those who are born in the Royal Family lay wreaths at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. The spouses watch the ceremony, that includes singing hymns, from the balconies of the Foreign Office. Political leaders and ambassadors from Commonwealth countries also lay wreaths at the monument. Since 2017, the Queen also watches from the balcony, because of her age.
The ceremony is extra special this year, as World War I ended exactly 100 years ago with the signing of the Armistice in France. Around the world, this important moment in history is commemorated today. In the UK, a special service is held at Westminster Abbey tonight. Members of the Royal Family will be in attendance. The President of Germany, mr. Steinmeier, is also in attendance for the events today.
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On the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday, the Festival of Remembrance is held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. There are two performances a day, a matinée open to members of the public and an evening event for members of the Legion, their families, officials and the Royals. The event is hosted by the Royal British Legion and has been held at the Royal Albert Hall every year since 1927. Her Majesty has been patron of the Royal British Legion since 1952, only missing two festivals in the many years since. The Festival commemorates all those who have lost their lives in conflicts.
The Festival is extra special tonight, as the world is commemorating the centenary of the end of the World War I tomorrow.
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
The Queen and members of the Royal Family watch the Festival from the Royal Box. Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband are also in attendance tonight.
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Members of the Royal Family are attending the celebrations for the centenary of the Royal Air Force today. The day starts with a service at Westminster Abbey.
The Royal Air Force was founded on 1 April 1918. The RAF is the world’s oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control. After being the strongest air force on the planet shortly after World War I, the RAF had to fight for its survival in the inter-war years. In World War II, the RAF was rapidly expanded. A defining period of the RAF existence was during the Battle of Britain. They held of the German Luftwaffe during a summer long air battle over Britain and the North Sea to prevent Britain from being conquered by the Germans too. After the Battle of Britain, the main RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. After the war, the RAF was reorganized again. At the time, the technology in air warfare was greatly advancing and the RAF needed the newest technology to play its part in the Cold War. They are still active today at many places in the world.
Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are attending the service at the Abbey today.
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The Queen and Members of the Royal Family were present today for Garter Day 2018, held at Windsor Castle.
In medieval times, King Edward III was so inspired by tales of King Arthur and the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table that he set up his own group of honourable knights, called the Order of the Garter. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded in 1348. Nearly 700 years later, the Order is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain. The Knights include senior members of the Royal Family, and others, who are personally chosen by the Queen in recognition for their public service. There are four types of Knights:
- Members ex officio (the British monarch and the Prince of Wales)
- Royal Knights (members of the Royal Family)
- Stranger Knights and Ladies (foreign Kings and Queens)
- Knights and Ladies Companion (others, maximum amount is 24)
If there are vacancies in the Knights and Ladies Companion, new appointments are announced on St. George’s Day (23 April).
Every year in June, Garter Day is held. On this day, The Queen and the Knights process in grand velvet robes, insignia and plumed hats to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. On the morning of Garter Day, new Knights will by formally invested by The Queen formally with the Order’s insignia in the Throne Room of the Castle.
Royal Knights and Ladies include the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, the Earl of Wessex and the Duke of Cambridge. The Duchess of Cambridge probably won’t be invested in the Order until she becomes Queen. The Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Alexandra are also Knights.
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