The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey yesterday.
Philip was greeted by the Dean of Westminster, John Hall, and the rector of St Margaret’s Church, Canon Andrew Tremlett.
He was invited to lay a cross of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the graves of unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars by Sara Jones, president of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory.
The Last Post was sounded from the parapet of St Margaret’s Church by two trumpeters of the Household Cavalry before Mrs Jones, who lost her husband Lieutenant Colonel Herbert ‘H’ Jones in the Falklands War, read the Ode of Remembrance, followed by a two-minute silence.
The Duke then spoke with war veterans, members of the Royal British Legion and current servicemen, including Lance Corporal Watchman V, the Staffordshire bull terrier mascot for the Staffordshire Regiment Association. Aged only three, this is the third time Watchman V has met the Duke at the Field of Remembrance.
His handler W2 Hedges, from 4th Battalion Mercy Regiment, said: “The first year the Duke met him he feigned horror, there was a good photograph of that. The second year he patted his head, this year he said ‘Oh, you’re back again!’
“The only royal he hasn’t met so far is the Queen. He met Charles and Camilla and gave Camilla a kiss; that was another great photograph. A lot of royal protection leaped forward.”
Lawrence Bohana, 72, served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Welsh Regiment for 35 years. He said: “It’s absolutely wonderful Philip still gives the time to come round and do this.”
Remembrance Sunday is this weekend.