Yesterday, 100 years ago, our ancestors were fighting for our freedom in shallow trenches across Europe during one of the deadliest wars this planet has ever witnessed. The First World War claimed the lives of an estimated 14 million people over the course of a turbulent four years, prompting mass mourning combined with celebration when it ended in 1918.
The following year “on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” England’s King George V held the first Remembrance Day service to honor those that gave their lives to King and country. The memorial day has continued as a tradition every year since, with high-ranking military figures, royalty and members of the public taking a moment to reflect on the horror of both the First World War and the Second World War, which came a mere 21 years later. The sombre event is recognized throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, most of whom pay respect for the fallen with a two minutes silence at the 11th hour. Respect is also shown via the use of the poppy, which was inspired by those found in Flanders Fields, which represent the blood shed during the bitter battles.
In England, the streets of Whitehall are saturated with military personnel, veterans, government officials, civilians and royalty every November 11, as thousands attend the carefully choreographed memorial event. This year was no different with regard to pomp, pageantry and respect. The streets of Whitehall in London turned a vivid red river, with wreaths of poppies and the crimson uniforms worn by veterans and serving soldiers. Despite the bitter cold, 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth was in attendance to remember those who fell during the the First World War and those that have occurred since. However, all eyes were on Prince Harry as he laid his wreath at the Cenotaph, after he made a rather controversial decision. The 33-year-old Prince, who has served in Afghanistan, is no stranger to scandal after it emerged earlier this year that he was secretly dating Suits actress, Meghan Markle. However, it was this rather questionable choice on Remembrance Sunday that has left people truly outraged… Prince Harry is no stranger to military protocol, the fifth in line to the throne (until the birth of the new royal baby) trained at the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, before embarking on two tours of Afghanistan. Before leaving the army in 2015, Harry ranked as captain of the Blues and Royals, making him one of the most senior officials – behind his grandmother, who ranks as the Colonel-in-Chief. However, despite his extensive career in the army, Prince Harry made a major blunder on Sunday when he accessorized his uniform with a beard. British Army rules forbid all beards, except in a few rare circumstances. For example, when a soldier is suffering with a skin complaint, or has strong religious reasons for retaining facial hair they are permitted to grow a beard. Special Forces and those on covert missions are also permitted to grow beards, but they must be clean shaven whilst on parade. An incensed serving member of the Blues and Royals, an elite cavalry regiment, told the Daily Mirror: “Prince Harry is letting us all down. There’s no place for beards in the Queen’s cavalry. He should have shaved it off for such an important day.” Luckily, Prince Harry is the world’s favorite prince. The ginger-haired royal has won the hearts of thousands across the globe with his charitable efforts, especially with his efforts with the Invictus Games. However, it was this moment that solidified him as everyone’s favorite: You keep doing you, Harry!