Prince Harry and Prince Andrew have refrained from saluting the London War Memorial as the Queen’s procession makes its way through the streets of central London. While Royal family members raised their hands in salute as they made their way past the Cenotaph, the Duke of Sussex opted instead to bow his head, while the Duke of York simply turned his eyes to look at the memorial. The Cenotaph, which means “empty tomb”, symbolises the unprecedented losses suffered during the First World War and is dedicated to ‘The Glorious Dead’.
The absence of salutes from the Queen’s second son and her second grandson came as the pair followed the late monarch’s coffin to Westminster Hall.
But social media user @RavePigeon noted: “They’re not in uniform or wearing headdress. He bowed his head instead.
“It was the correct thing to do.”
The Queen left Buckingham Palace for the final time at around 3pm on Wednesday, with the King and the Royal Family walking behind her coffin in solemn procession to the lying in state.
Pulled on a gun carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the coffin was draped with a Royal Standard and adorned with the priceless, glittering Imperial State Crown.
Taking the lead was the pomp and pageantry of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and military bands.
Thousands of mourners flocked to see the moving sight of the Queen departing the official residence where she spent so much of her working life at the heart of the nation, with viewing areas declared full ahead of the procession starting.
King Charles III walked in line with the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex, leading the Royal Family behind the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Behind the quartet were the Queen’s grandsons in a line – Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales – who were followed by the late monarch’s son-in-law Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s cousin, and her nephew the Earl of Snowdown.
The Queen’s coffin was transported on the George Gun Carriage, which carried King George VI’s coffin from Sandringham Church to Wolferton Station in February 1952 and was used during the funeral of the Queen Mother in 2002.
The journey from the palace to the ancient Westminster Hall, where King Charles I was tried, took 38 minutes – passing landmarks the Queen knew well like Horse Guards Parade, the Cenotaph, and Downing Street.
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The Cenotaph, towards which Prince Andrew and then Prince Harry declined to salute during the procession, has become the central focus for national commemoration every year, most significantly during the National Service of Remembrance on Remembrance Sunday.
There are no names inscribed on the Cenotaph as it was designed for the millions of Britons who lost loved ones in the First World War and then beyond to assign their own meaning to the memorial.
Commissioned by then prime minister David Lloyd George, the Cenotaph was originally built as a temporary wooden structure to be erected to coincide with the Peace Day celebrations in July 1919.
But the structure proved so popular that a permanent replacement was recommissioned following the original Cenotaph’s removal at the start of 1920.
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