Queen and PM pay tribute to First World War soldiers at Royal Albert Hall
The Queen and Prime Minister have paid tribute to those who fought in the First World War at a remembrance event marking a century since the Armistice.
The Royal Family stood as thousands of audience members held aloft photos of those who took part in the conflict, and descendants stood in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall with pictures of their ancestors.
Theresa May and her husband Philip held aloft photos of two of her ancestors, including Private Hubert Brasier Grant, of the East Surrey Regiment, who died at Passchendaele in 1917 aged 19.
Mrs May attended a service to mark the centenary of the battle last year and found her father’s cousin’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium.
A photograph was also shown of the PM’s grandfather Sergeant Major Tom Brasier, who served with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
The PM and her husband joined thousands of servicemen and women at the annual Festival of Remembrance, organised by the Royal British Legion and marking 100 years since the guns fell silent.
Alongside the Queen in the royal box were other senior royals including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
All were dressed in dark clothing as they watched from the box, giving standing ovations to welcome the Chelsea Pensioners and bereaved family members.
The Queen raised her right hand in acknowledgement twice after the crowd sang the national anthem and cheers were sent her way.
Sir Tom Jones led the musical performances, singing Coming In On A Wing And A Prayer alongside the RAF Squadronaires.
Sheridan Smith was backed softly by a piano as she sang Are You Just Sleeping, while Tom Fletcher from McFly performed Born To Fly with Danny Jones, which he wrote to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the cellist who delighted millions at Harry and Meghan’s wedding earlier this year, played a modern version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to a hushed crowd.
Other famous faces attending included Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and former Countdown presenter Carol Vorderman.
A poignant citation, written for Saturday evening by children’s author Sir Michael Morpurgo, was read by Second World War pilot Colin Bell.
He read: “They came because country called, because they knew it had to be done, that unless they went to fight there could be no peace.
“And still today they come forward, our soldiers and sailors and airmen and women, a hundred years on. They come, carrying the torch for freedom, our freedom.”
The Last Post sounded before poppies began to fall to the floor, forming a poignant carpet of red.
The hall was bathed in silence as the petals fluttered down, some falling on to the caps of servicemen and women standing below.
Members of the public mingled with members of the armed forces in the centre of the hall after the service ended.