Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Attended A Memorial Service For Veterans As Part Of An Over 100-Year-Old Tradition
For most of the world's soon-to-be-married couples, the weeks leading up to the wedding generally tend to be pretty busy. The same is definitely true for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who've been juggling a medley of public appearances in addition to last-minute royal wedding preparations ahead of their big day. (Also, their new nephew was just born!) And, as it turns out, Wednesday was no different. Harry and Markle spent the day paying their respects to soldiers who've died in war, according to Entertainment Tonight.
A bit of context for all us royal admirers from across the pond: In the U.K., Wednesday marks a distinctly special (and distinctly solemn) occasion, especially for those connected to the nation's military. April 25 is known as Anzac Day. According to a tweet from the Royal Family's official Twitter account, Anzac Day "honours the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations." As Entertainment Tonight mentioned in its report, the commemorative day of services has existed as a royal tradition since 1916.
Both Australia and New Zealand are members of the British Commonwealth, which means they exist under the monarchical jurisdiction of Queen Elizabeth II. And, for any enthusiastic royals fans eager to get their hands on a play-by-play account of Wednesday morning's memorial roster: You might want to head over to Twitter, where the official accounts associated with Kensington Palace and The Royal Family have been posting live updates since dawn.
Speaking of dawn, Prince Harry and Markle's day of tribute kicked off right around then, according to another early-morning tweet from The Royal Family's account. Per the Twitter update, which includes a photo of the engaged couple looking somber while standing shoulder-to-shoulder amid a row of uniformed military personnel, Prince Harry and Markle were in attendance during Anzac Day's traditional Dawn Service, which took place at Wellington Arch in London at sunrise.
Prince Harry and Markle both wore matching red pins shaped like poppy flowers (also known throughout the U.K. as a "remembrance poppy," a symbolic token of commemoration in honor of soldiers who've died). In addition to his poppy pin, Harry was also photographed wearing a series of medals — markers of his own military service.
It's safe to say this particular day of tributes hits close to home for Harry, who served in the British Army for 10 years before departing from his post in 2015. During his years of service, Harry completed two tours in Afghanistan and worked as an Apache Aircraft Commander before taking on the title of Captain.
As Entertainment Tonight reported, Harry laid ceremonial wreaths at both the New Zealand and Australian memorials in London Wednesday morning. Kensington Palace also tweeted about the traditional wreath-laying services, in addition to providing followers of the Royal Family with a pretty powerful snapshot of the prince bowing his head after having placed the wreath at the foot of the memorial.
As part of the day of services, Harry and Markle also attended the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving held at Westminster Abbey. Kensington Palace alerted the masses to the couple's attendance during that leg of services, as well, tweeting a photo of the duo donning all-black attire (though still wearing their poppy pins, of course) while sitting inside the iconic cathedral. Prince William was also in attendance, while Kate Middleton was surely at home with their only two-day-old baby
Prince Harry and Markle will pay homage to the military in a big way once again during their wedding, which is set to take place in just a few weeks, on May 19. Back in March, Kensington Palace announced via Twitter that the couple had invited members of the Armed Forces with a "special connection" to Prince Harry to join them during their wedding ceremony. According to the Palace's tweet, those members of the Armed Forces in attendance are slated to provide "ceremonial support" during the upcoming royal wedding.
While Wednesday's day of services was largely an act of tradition, it seems Harry and Markle are making it a general priority to honor the nation's veterans and military personnel. As far as paying tribute to those who've served in the British Armed Forces goes, it seems there's no couple better suited for the job.