LONDON, United Kingdom – Her Majesty today joined volunteers of the London Regiment of the British Army to remember the fallen of the First World War at a special ceremony at the Royal Chelsea Hospital.
The Queen was joined by her son The Earl of Wessex and her cousin Prince Michael of Kent at an event timed to be exactly one hundred years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the incident generally accepted to have sparked the First World War.
The commemoration forms part of a series of events to remember those who fell in the carnage of 1914-1918. It consisted of a “solemn drumhead” in which the Guards Regiment played drums to remember fallen British soldiers.
The Mayors of the 32 boroughs that form Greater London looked on along with the Masters of the traditional “Livery Companies” of the City of London, who represent the various business communities from World Traders, to Carpenters, and to Security Professions.
The Great War was triggered in part by the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was the heir to the throne of the now defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was killed by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip when he made a state visit to Sarajevo in modern day Bosnia-Herzegovina.
A hundred years ago this week the Austrian Habsburg monarchy issued an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia that he agreed to in part – this was not good enough for his enemies, and war broke out.
Over the course of one week, almost every major country in Europe had joined the war. In the end 60 million men were mobilised by various sides, with 5.5 million killed on the “Allied” side which included British, French, American and Commonwealth troops.
The Queen wore royal purple during the solemn occasion, and the Duke of Edinburgh displayed his service medals gained during his time in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.
Prayers were led by the Bishop of London who invited a moment of silence of those who had volunteered to defend their country and been killed.
One member of the Military who asked not to be named told Breitbart London: “World War One was an incredible carnage but men went to fight because they believed in freedom.
“This year is going to be amazing, sad and thoughtful because its a hundred years since the war started. A whole generation was wiped out, but they sacrificed themselves to we can be free.
“The modern generation must remember that heritage and think about how their freedoms are being undermined by the European Union.”
Amongst the reservist forces was James Cleverly AM, who is an officer in the London Regiment. As a London Assembly member he is widely tipped to succeed Boris Johnson as the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.
The Royal Chelsea Hospital is a care home established by King Charles II to look after elderly retired soldiers. It is home to a new wing named after former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, because she was a firm supporter of it when she was alive.
The ashes of both herself and her husband Sir Dennis Thatcher are in the cemetery.
Throughout this year there are a series of events planned to remember the fallen of WWI.