"The Lord Mayor's Show has floated, rolled, trotted, marched and occasionally fought its way through 798 years of London history, surviving the black death and the blitz to arrive in the 21st century as one of the world’s best-loved pageants.Then, this evening, in the splendour of the Royal Albert Hall and in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family, the Massed Bands of the Household Division, and the bands of HM Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force perform in the Royal British Legion's Festival of Remembrance. Together they pay tribute to the victims of war and conflict in a festival that also includes the traditional two-minute silence as thousands of poppy petals fall from the ceiling, each one representing a life lost in conflict. Although the festival does not have 800 years of history behind it, this can now be considered a traditional event as it started back in the 1920s and so hase been running for more than 80 years.
Thanks to the ancient and justified precautions of King John, every newly-elected Lord Mayor of London has to leave the safety of the City of London and travel up the Thames to Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown.
Over the centuries the Mayor's journey became one of London's favourite rituals. It moved from river barges to horseback and then into the magnificent State Coach, and around it grew a splendidly rowdy and joyful mediæval festival known as the Lord Mayor's Show.
That ancient cavalcade is still rolling today. The modern procession is over three and a half miles long and fills the whole space between Bank and Aldwych from 11am until about 2.30pm, cheered by a crowd of around half a million people and watched live on the BBC by millions more. There are fewer sword fights these days but the floats are grander than ever and it's a great day out for every generation."
Tomorrow morning sees another 20th century innovation - Remembrance Day ceremonies. These are held in just about every city, town and village across the country, but the big, national event is, of course, in London, at the Cenotaph on Whitehall. Wreaths are laid by Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Kent, the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry of Wales, the Prime Minister, leaders of major political parties and former Prime Ministers, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Commonwealth High Commissioners and representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets and the civilian services. Two minutes' silence is held at 11 a.m., before the laying of the wreaths. The silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent. This silence is marked by the firing of a field gun on Horse Guards Parade to begin and end the silence, followed by Royal Marines buglers sounding Last Post.
|Her Majesty the Queen steps back to pay her respects after laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, during the Remembrance Sunday service.|