Queen leads nation in act of Remembrance

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The Independent Online

The Queen led the nation in acknowledging the sacrifice made by Britain's war dead at today's Remembrance Sunday ceremony.

The monarch joined senior royals, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other political leaders in laying wreaths at the Cenotaph Memorial in Whitehall, central London. The solemn gesture took place in front of thousands of veterans who also gathered to pay their respects at this year's event, which marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

For the first time, the Territorial Army - which is celebrating its 100th anniversary - was granted the privilege of also laying a wreath at the monument.

The Queen stood solemnly at 11 o'clock as the nation marked a two-minute silence in memory of those who have perished defending the country.

After a cannon marked the end of the silence, the monarch approached the Cenotaph, laying a wreath and pausing for a moment's reflection before joining family members.

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Prince William - an officer in the Blues and Royals - followed in making the gesture, each saluting as they did so. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Tory leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, each then laid their wreaths.

A frail-looking Baroness Thatcher, 83, was accompanied by former PM John Major throughout the service.

The rain held off for the ceremony, but wintry conditions appeared to take its toll as many among the crowd appeared to shiver in the cold.

Lining the streets they looked on as war veterans, many elderly and frail, marched close to the Cenotaph, proudly wearing their medals and regimental berets.

Stuart Gendall, spokesman for the Royal British Legion, said: "It is the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One, supposedly the war to end all wars, and yet here we are today and conflicts are still ongoing.

"One-hundred-and-twenty-one young men and women have lost their lives in Afghanistan."

He added that it was important for the nation to come together and remember all those that laid down their lives fighting for their country.