Why the Queen wore five poppies for Remembrance Sunday

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
·3-min read
Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Queen Elizabeth was joined by the rest of the senior ranking British royal family over the weekend, as they attended a socially distanced Remembrance Sunday Service in central London. Despite England currently being days into a month-long lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus, the royals came out to honour the lost servicemen and women from World War I, on the 102nd anniversary of the end of the Great War.

The poppy became a widely recognised symbol of remembrance and hope after the flowers bloomed in Flanders Field, a major battleground of the First World War where many lives were lost. The poppy is typically worn throughout the month of November, and the royal family is no exception.

But in yesterday's Remembrance Day Service, the Queen was spotted wearing not one, but five poppies, and some have questioned why this is. It's been noted that the monarch always wears the most poppies to the annual service, wearing five last year, and three in 2017. Although Buckingham Palace has never confirmed the exact reason, one theory is that each poppy represents each service in the World Wars: the Army, the Navy, the RAF, the Civil Defence and women.

Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images

It has also been suggested that the move is symbolic of the Queen’s position as the head of the Royal Family, and also the highest ranking dignitary at the service. Some believe the Queen wears her poppy to the left, as with military medals, as it is closest to the heart. However, the British Legion has clarified that it doesn’t matter which side of the chest you wear the symbol.

Guidelines on The British Legion’s official website state: "There is no 'correct' way to wear a poppy. "It is a matter of personal choice whether someone chooses to wear a poppy and how they choose to wear it. The best way to wear a poppy is simply with pride."

Queen Elizabeth appeared on a balcony at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building in Whitehall, London. However, she stood on a separate balcony to the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who stood two metres apart in theirs, due to social distancing. Kate wore three poppies for the occasion, while Camilla wore just one.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Prince Charles laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of both his parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, as well as laying one of his own. Prince William, Princess Anne, and the Earl of Wessex were also among those to lay a wreath in memory of the fallen soldiers.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would usually attend the service, however since they stepped down from the royal family and relocated to California, the couple were not involved in this year's ceremony. Instead, they visited the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Sunday, in honour of Remembrance Day and laid flowers from their garden on the graves of two commonwealth soldiers.

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