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 lapels, 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.
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Kate Middleton, 39, donned a military-style bespoke Alexander McQueen dress coat for Remembrance Sunday as she joined other royals for the 11am service at Whitehall this morning – the Queen had been due to attend but was advised against making the journey by doctors on Saturday
Representing the Queen: The Duchess of Cambridge took her place between the Duchess of Cornwall, left, and the Countess of Wessex, right, on the balcony at the Remembrance Sunday service, as wreaths were laid by key royals and dignitaries below
The Duchess, wearing a £19.99 Royal British Legion crystal poppy brooch alongside a trio of larger poppies, offered a smile to those gathered as she looked out over the crowds gathered for this year’s Remembrance Sunday service
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.
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.
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.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pictured turning to chat with the Duchess of Cambridge as they await the start of the ceremony. It had been hoped the Queen would be in attendance this year, after last year’s ceremony was pared down due to Covid
Camilla, who opted for a feathered black hat with a five-string set of pearls, looked serious as she chatted to Kate
The three royals look straight ahead as they sing the national anthem, God Save The Queen, on the Foreign Office balcony
On Saturday, the royal attended the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London – again the Queen was not in attendance
The Duchess of Cambridge looks on as her fellow royals consult the order of service during the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in central London
Both Camilla and Kate wore black leather gloves as they stood on the balcony on a cool November morning
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pictured in attendance at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in London this morning
Wearing a trio of poppies and a poppy brooch, the Duchess wore her hair neatly plaited to one side under her drop brim Tiffany hat
A moment of reflection: Kate closed her eyes during the ceremony as those gathered paid their respects to fallen soldiers
Members of the royal family gather at the prestigious London building for the service: Pictured from left, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
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.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, left, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, right, stand on the balcony of the Foreign Office during the Remembrance service where the Queen would have been standing if she had attended
On a grey day in Whitehall, Kate opted for the warm dress coat with red lapels, a white collar and silver button detail
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.