Members of the royal family made their annual visit to the Cenotaph in central London today to lead solemn tributes to the war dead on Remembrance Sunday. This year’s service was scaled right back because of the coronavirus pandemic, but 10 members of the royal family still attended in person and Prince Andrew was notably not among them.
The 94-year-old Queen watched from the balcony of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office building as Prince Charles laid a wreath on her behalf following two minutes of silence. The service was also attended by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate, Prince Edward and Sophie, Princess Anne and her husband Tim Laurence, and the Duke of Kent. An equerry laid a wreath on behalf of Prince Philip, who last appeared publicly on Remembrance Sunday in 2017, the year he retired from royal duties. Representatives from government and the military were also present along with a small number of veterans and officials from other countries.
Prince Andrew announced last November that he was stepping back from royal duties following his disastrous television interview about Jeffrey Epstein. But it was said at the time that he could still be expected to appear publicly at certain times of the year alongside his family, with Remembrance Sunday cited as one such event. The 60-year-old Prince served with the Royal Navy for 22 years and continues to hold honorary military appointments, but his absence today reflects just how controversial a figure he has now become. A recent YouGov poll found that 80% of the British public now have a negative opinion of him. However, his unpopularity does not seem to have affected the favorability ratings of other royals, with the same poll finding that 83% of people have a positive opinion of the Queen, 59% of Prince Charles and 80% of Prince William.
The monarch and her two heirs looked solemn today as they led tributes in memory of all those who sacrificed their lives protecting the freedoms of others. This year’s Remembrance Sunday service looked very different to previous years as it was was closed to the public in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Around 10,000 people usually make their way to the central London monument but the government urged people to stay at home and observe two minutes of silence starting at 11 a.m. as the service was broadcast on television.
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