LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday led the national ceremony honoring British armed forces members who have died in action.
The solemn Remembrance Sunday event at the Cenotaph in central London marked a highlight in British and Commonwealth tributes to fallen soldiers days before the centenary of the outbreak of World War I.
The queen, dressed in black, placed a wreath at the Cenotaph, followed by other senior royals, politicians, and service representatives.
Large crowds thronged the surrounding streets to see more than 10,000 veterans march as martial music played. The event started with two minutes of silence to remember the dead.
The queen bowed her head in respect after she placed a poppy-filled wreath at the Cenotaph’s base.
She was followed by her husband, Prince Philip, who was active in the Royal Navy, and Prince Charles, the heir to the throne and also an armed forces veteran.
Prince William, who served as a military helicopter rescue pilot, placed the next wreath as his pregnant wife, Kate, watched from a nearby balcony. She sat alongside Camilla, Charles’ wife.
Prime Minister David Cameron called Sunday’s event particularly poignant because of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. He also cited the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the end of Britain’s military operations in Afghanistan.
He was the first political leader to place a wreath, followed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and opposition leader Ed Miliband.
The high profile ceremony took amid increased security concerns because of recent terrorism-related arrests and a nationwide terror threat assessed to be “severe.” Four men were arrested on terror-related charges Friday and are still being questioned.