In the absence of the Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge took centre stage this morning as she joined the Duchess of Cornwall and Sophie Wessex on the Foreign Office balcony to pay her respects to the fallen at the Cenotaph.
On a grey day in Whitehall, Kate Middleton, 39, opted for a favourite Alexander McQueen military-style black dress coat with red epaulettes, a white collar and silver button detail as she watched Prince William and Prince Charles lay wreaths at the Whitehall war memorial below.
The Queen had been expected to attend the service but was advised against the public duty by doctors at the 11th hour, leaving senior royals Kate Middleton, Sophie Wessex and Camilla to represent the monarch at the annual service.
Kate Middleton cut a serious figure wearing the same elegant bespoke dress coat she had worn at the 2018 Remembrance Sunday service, this time accessorising with a chic, drop-brim black hat by Tiffany and diamond and pearl drop earrings.
The Duchess also wore a £19.99 Royal British Legion crystal poppy brooch alongside a trio of larger poppies.
The Duchess joined Sophie Wessex and the Duchess of Cornwall on the third balcony above the war memorial, taking time to chat with Camilla as the ceremony began.
Camilla frequently turned towards her daughter-in-law, and the Duchess of Cambridge also appeared deep in conversation with the Countess of Wessex, as the three leading royals represented the Queen alongside other royals.
As the clock struck 11am, Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, Prince William and other members of Britain’s elite marked the two-minute silence.
Buckingham Palace said the 95-year-old monarch made the decision on Sunday morning ‘with great regret’ and is ‘disappointed’ to miss the event – the first time she has not been in attendance in 22 years.
The Queen is said to be deeply disappointed to miss the service – which she regards as one of the most significant engagements of the year – and she hopes to continue as planned with her schedule of light official duties next week.
The monarch, who served in World War II as a army driver and mechanic, was due to watch the service at the war memorial in central London from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.
Her attendance at the service was confirmed by the palace on Thursday after she was ordered to rest by royal doctors just over three weeks ago and spent a night in hospital on October 20 undergoing preliminary tests.
The monarch had stated that it was her ‘firm intention’ to be at the Cenotaph for the traditional Remembrance Sunday event, one of the most ‘sacred’ events in her annual calendar.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who opted for a feathered black hat with a five-string set of pearls, looked serious as she chatted to Kate ahead of the service.
Today’s service marked the first time the general public have been allowed to attend following the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the diminished family group at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night but the Queen was not in attendance.
They were joined by Prince William, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.