Tower of London poppies: Sunday commemorations to begin under tightened royal security after terror arrests

As Queen attends Cenotaph, David Cameron announces that Tower of London poppies will stay longer
Click to follow

Police have tightened security around events attended by the Royal Family following the arrest of four men on suspicion of terrorism offences.

On Thursday evening, four men from west London and High Wycombe were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. The timing of the arrests has led to speculation that the Royal Family and Remembrance Sunday events may have been targets.

Scotland Yard has refused to comment on the claims, saying only that the arrests were "part of an ongoing investigation into Islamist-related terrorism". Last month, the force said it was dealing with an "exceptionally high" number of terrorism-related cases.

The Queen is expected to fulfil her public Remembrance Sunday duties at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, central London, today, where she will lay a wreath. Last night, she attended the Royal British Legion's Annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.


Remembrance events in this centenary year of the start of the First World War have been particularly poignant. The poppy installation surrounding the Tower of London, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, has drawn large crowds.

Made up of 888,246 ceramic poppies – the number of British and colonial First World War dead – the installation was scheduled to be dismantled on Wednesday, the day after Armistice Day. But, because of its great popularity, one part of the display is to be left in place until the end of the month.

David Cameron, who announced the extension yesterday, said: "What we've managed to do is find a way of saving part of the exhibition for the nation and making sure it will be seen by many more people."

One of the artists behind the display, Tom Piper, said he understood that some people would be disappointed, but that this was a significant aspect of the work. "It is about the fragility of human life, the power of the spirit and, most importantly, about loss," he said. "People will be left with a sense of loss and remembrance."

Although he was happy with the extension, Ian Weatherby-Blythe, managing director of Castle Galleries, which has a branch near the Tower, said: "It would have been nice for the poppy tribute to be in place longer... I think the public would have preferred greater opportunity to go and view it, and pay their respects to the finished installation."

A section of the display will be permanently housed at the Imperial War Museum in London and Manchester in 2018, after a UK tour.

"I think it is fitting that it is finally displayed in a museum that allows us to debate the realities and costs of all wars," said Mr Piper.