Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ‘personally recognised’ Remembrance Day by visiting the Los Angeles National cemetery to pay their respects to fallen Commonwealth soldiers.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex laid flowers at two graves, one for those who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force and one for soldiers from the Royal Canadian Artillery.
The flowers were picked by Meghan from the garden of their $14 million Santa Barbara mansion.
They also placed a wreath at an obelisk in the cemetery that features a plaque inscribed ‘In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives In Defence Of Their Country’.
Harry, who spent 10 years in the armed forces, was pictured wearing a navy suit with his service medals attached, while Meghan wore a long belted black coat.
They reportedly wore masks on the way to the cemetery, though they were pictured without them when they reached the graves.
It comes after Harry was reportedly refused permission for a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph on his behalf today, in the latest sign of a family rift.
The Queen was not thought to have been informed of the request or its refusal, which is said to have ‘deeply saddened’ the Duke of Sussex,
A spokesman for the couple said: ‘It was important to the duke and duchess to be able to personally recognise Remembrance in their own way, to pay tribute to those who have served and to those who gave their lives,’ a statement said.
‘The couple laid flowers that the duchess picked from their garden at the gravesites of two commonwealth soldiers, one who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force and one from the Royal Canadian Artillery.’
The statement said they also placed a wreath at an obelisk in the cemetery.
‘The duke signed a message with the wreath saying: ‘To all of those who have served, and are serving. Thank you’.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured during a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday
Prince Harry signed a message with the wreath he left at the cemetery saying: ‘To all of those who have served, and are serving. Thank you’
It comes after Harry was reportedly refused permission for a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph on his behalf today
Prince Harry emphasised the importance of Remembrance Sunday during an appearance on a military podcast to mark the event, which airs today.
On the interview with the Declassified podcast, he described the day as ‘a moment for respect and for hope’.
The former royal said: ‘The act of remembering, of remembrance, is a profound act of honour. It’s how we preserve the legacies of entire generations and show our gratitude for the sacrifices they made in order for us to be able to live the lives we live today.’
In previous years, the duke has marked the day with visits to the Cenotaph and Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance – he first attended the cenotaph in 2009 aged 25.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is also not expected to attend the ceremony, reports The Times.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on whether Prince Harry’s request had been refused.
Prince Harry’s representatives have been contacted for comment.
During the podcast, Harry also spoke about his experiences and said he cherishes his relationship with veterans, describing coming together as ‘like meeting an old mate’.
He added: ‘I wear the poppy to recognise all those who have served; the soldiers I knew, as well as those I didn’t.
In previous years, the duke has marked the day with visits to the Cenotaph and Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance. Pictured: The Duke laying a wreath on Anzac day in 2016
Prince Harry (pictured left at the West Point Military Academy in America in 2010 and right during a shift in Afghanistan in 2012), who spent 10 years in the armed forces, described the day as ‘a moment for respect and for hope’, in an interview with the Declassified podcast
Prince William and Prince Charles attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London today without Prince Harry
The Remembrance Sunday ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 8, 2020
Prince Harry prepares to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, on Whitehall, Westminster, London, during the annual Remembrance Sunday service, Sunday November 8, 2009
‘The soldiers who were by my side in Afghanistan, those who had their lives changed forever, and those that didn’t come home.
‘I wear it to celebrate the bravery and determination of all our veterans, and their loved ones, especially those in our Invictus family.
‘These are the people and moments I remember when I salute, when I stand at attention and when I lay a wreath at the Cenotaph.’
Harry created the Invictus Games in 2014 for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans from around the world to compete in a range of sports.
The Duke of Sussex, who now lives in the United States with his wife Meghan and their son Archie, said: ‘Even when we can’t all be together, we always remember together.’
On the podcast, which documents stories from the military community, the duke also spoke about his own service which included two tours of Afghanistan.
He said: ‘When I get asked about this period of my life I draw from memories, I draw from what I remember and who I remember.
‘Like the first time we were shot at and who I was with, the casualties we saw, and those we saved. And the first medivac we escorted out of contact in a race against time.
‘Once served always serving, no matter what.
Britain’s Prince William, right, Prince Harry, centre, and Prince Andrew, left, attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London on November 8, 2015
Prince Charles and Prince William represented the Royal Family at the service today, while Prince Harry remained in Los Angeles
‘Being able to wear my uniform, being able to stand up in service of one’s country, these are amongst the greatest honours there are in life.
‘To me, the uniform is a symbol of something much bigger, it’s symbolic of our commitment to protecting our country, as well as protecting our values.
‘These values are put in action through service, and service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos.’
Services for Remembrance Sunday this year were greatly impacted due to the pandemic, with a full lockdown in England and other restrictions in place across the UK.
The UK Government has this year encouraged councils to ensure remembrance services are short, entirely outdoors and held in front of limited numbers.
However, people still turned out to pay their respects, leading to unpleasant clashes with police.
A video circulated online which appeared to show a military piper being shoved to the ground by a Metropolitan police officer.
The piper, identified by the cameraman as a veteran, appeared to march at the police barricade being guarded by masked Met police officers.
Dozens of protestors began hurling abuse at the officers after the incident as the piper confronted the officer who shoved him
The incident sparked outrage among the small crowd of veterans who had gathered as the piper confronted the police officer
The footage shows one officer shove the piper away which causes him to stumble backwards before he falls to the floor
A video has been shared online showing a military piper, pictured, apparently being shoved to the ground after marching directly at a line of police who were barring members of the public from attending the private service at the Cenotaph
Footage showed the piper turn and march directly at a line of masked police officers before he was shoved to the ground
In the video, an officer then seemed to shove the piper away from the line and the man stumbled backwards before falling to the ground.
The incident, which took place in Whitehall this afternoon, sparked outrage among the demonstrators who had gathered to mark Remembrance Sunday but were barred from attending the service at the Cenotaph which was closed to the public.
Members of the crowd began shouting at the officer calling him ‘a disgrace’ and ‘disgusting’ before the man who was shoved to the ground begins addressing the small crowd.
The unidentified uniformed piper says: ‘I tried in my speech down the road to support the Metropolitan Police – I did.
‘And what do we get? They attack us. This is a police state. What do we get from them? Violence. Violence. They’re the violent ones.’
Other bystanders can be heard urging the police to ‘take a knee for the fallen’ and yelling ‘this is Germany’ in apparent outrage at the incident.
The piper’s reference to a speech down the road appears to be a reference to an earlier video shared on Twitter.
In the video, the piper was filmed shouting at the police, saying: ‘We have the workers of state barricading us from showing our respects for our fallen comrades.
Pre-booked visitors stand at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas where a virtual Act of Remembrance from the Armed Forces Memorial will be broadcast
Chaplins, veterans and soldiers at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, earlier today
Last year: Serving servicemen and veterans gather at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, near Fort William, for Remembrance Sunday, 2019. Far smaller crowds are seen this year
Groups across the UK held their own memorials alongside the scaled-down annual National Service of Remembrance in London. Pictured: A service at Spean Bridge, Scotland
Britons gathered by a memorial in Seaham, County Durham, on Remembrance Sunday. Some wore protective face masks
In Seaham, County Durham, huge crowds gathered of a memorial service – with the fog-filled sky and dreary weather providing a sombre backdrop
In Seaham, Britons stood together as they remembered those who have lost their lives in the First World War
A veteran places a cross on a memorial statue in Seaham, County Durham, during a Remembrance Sunday memorial
Over 200 military veterans and members of the public observed the minute silence for Remembrance Sunday in Glasgow
‘I didn’t come here for a fight – I’ve done enough of that in the past – and no one else did.
‘We’ve come here to respect our friends, brothers in arms and also the fallen that we didn’t even know.
And yet the state, the state, the state tells us that we cannot!’
While the Queen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other members of Government and the Royal family held a private service at the Cenotaph this morning, the public were unable to attend because of lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Millions of people across the UK instead privately paid their respects from home, while others did head to their local war memorials for socially-distanced ceremonies.
At the Cenotaph, around 10,000 veterans would normally pay their respects, but this year there were just 26 because of the risks presented by Covid-19.
The barricade was later removed after official ceremonial proceedings had been completed and the public were allowed to approach the Cenotaph which was still being guarded by a handful of officers.
A spokesman for the Met Police said: ‘Police are aware of a video circulating online which shows an officer using force after a man had tried to enter a restricted area in Whitehall SW1.
‘The actions of the officer will be looked at in the wider context of this incident.
‘The man had previously been asked to wait while the restricted area was opened up and he would be able to attend the Cenotaph.
‘The road had been closed off as the Remembrance Sunday event this year was a closed ceremony due to Covid restrictions.
‘The area has since been opened up and members of the public can now go on their way.’