Poignant day as widow meets Prince Harry

Prince Harry salutes in front of a Cross of Remembrance when he opened the 86th Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey
Prince Harry salutes in front of a Cross of Remembrance when he opened the 86th Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey
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PRINCE Harry has opened the 86th Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.

He spent more than an hour meeting veterans and members of the Royal British Legion and Poppy Factory as he was shown around the 100,000 crosses that have been planted in memory of fallen soldiers.

Harry laid a cross of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the graves of unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.

The Last Post was sounded, followed by a two-minute silence, after which the Prince visited the plots and met people.

Among those to whom he spoke was Lisa McKinlay, whose husband, Lance Corporal Jonathan McKinlay, was killed in Afghanistan in September 2011.

He was shot through the neck and leg while on patrol, his widow said.

The 33-year-old had been in Afghanistan a couple of months and had been home for a week of rest and relaxation before he was killed 10 days after returning to the country. The couple had been married for just 10 months.

Ms McKinlay, 35, from Lancashire, said of yesterday’s event: “It is nerve-wracking but I like attending these events because for me it’s about remembering my husband.”

She added: “I have a lot of respect for him, anyway. It’s nice to speak to someone who knows what the processes are. When you are talking to him you know that he knows.”

Harry was met by the Dean of Westminster, the Sub-Dean and Rector of St Margaret’s Church, the president of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory, as well as members of the Poppy Factory.

This is the second time Harry, who was wearing a Blues and Royals frock coat, has visited the Field of Remembrance as he accompanied the Duke of Edinburgh last year. The Duke has been at the Field of Remembrance every year since 2003.