What Does The Remembrance Red Poppy Mean? Harry & Meghan Both Wore The Pin That Has A Long History
You might have noticed that the Duchess and Duke of Sussex both started to wear a matching accessory halfway through their royal tour through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the Kingdom of Tonga. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wore poppies on their royal tour, but you might not know the significance of it. It's not just a sweet husband-and-wife matching moment, but holds a special meaning to both the UK and the British Commonwealth nations.
Called the "Remembrance Poppy," it is worn to honor the fallen troops of war, and is taken out during the two weeks before Remembrance Sunday, which is on Nov. 11 this year. They are most commonly used in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the tradition started back in 1921.
But why poppies? It is believed that the poem written by John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields," inspired the tribute, where shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, Belgium, he looked over the bloody battlefield and was inspired by the sight of poppies flourishing in the middle of all of that destruction. The war-themed poem opens up with the stanza:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
Also, poppies grow wild in fields found in France and Belgium, which is where some of the bloodiest battles took place during World War I, so that adds another layer to the symbolism of the flower.
According to the BBC, poppies are traditionally worn on the left side of the chest to symbolize that the fallen soldiers are kept in our hearts, and it is also where soldiers place their military medals when they are standing in uniform. And that is how Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry have worn theirs throughout the tour.
The boutonniere flower also does more than honor fallen soldiers, but it also helps living veterans that have come back from war and need assistance. A large amount of the proceeds go back to the soldiers, helping them with housing, food, and income.
Which is why the royal couple started donning their pins while in New Zealand. The hopeful poppy appeared on Markle's outfit on her 13th day into the tour, and has accented almost every outfit since.
There have also been soldier memorial stops threaded into their tour, where the two started their trip in New Zealand by visiting Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
Afterwards, the royal pair were shown the large British war memorial that was put into place just last year, where it shows a pohutakawa tree and a royal oak tree coming together, mimicking the relationship between New Zealand and the UK.
There is still over a week left until Remembrance Sunday, meaning you will probably see the red poppy on the Duchess's other outfits as the days pass. It's a lovely tribute to all the soldiers who gave up their lives for their country throughout the years.