The Royal Family and members of Britain’s Armed Forces will be barred from singing the national anthem on Armistice Day, over fears that the patriotic songs will spread the Chinese coronavirus.
Armistice Day, which is held on November 11th to mark the anniversary of the signing of the agreement between the Allied forces and Imperial Germany which ended the First World War, coincides with Veterans’ Day in the United States.
This year, Westminster Abbey has decreed that only a socially-distanced choir will be permitted to sing the British national anthem at the service marking the ceasefire, in order to comply with the government ban on “communal singing”, the Daily Mail reports.
In response to the decision to bar veterans and the Royal Family from singing, former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “If the Government and the British Legion limit Remembrance Sunday to the point that it becomes pointless, then we have to ask ourselves: what they did they die for?”
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This year’s celebrations will coincide with the one-hundredth anniversary of the Funeral of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey and the unveiling of the Cenotaph, the nation’s war memorial, which was vandalised during Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year.
Typically, thousands of military personnel and veterans gather on the streets surrounding the Cenotaph to honour those killed in the World Wars and other conflicts.
The service that will be held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall this year will only permit 30 veterans to attend, while police will erect giant screens and barriers in order to prevent the public from gathering around the memorial as is customary.
Though the Royal Family will be banned from singing at Westminster Abbey, they will be permitted to sing God Save The Queen outside at the Cenotaph.
It is presently unclear what restrictions will be placed on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday memorials throughout the United Kingdom, although Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to introduce a second national lockdown in England starting from next week.
The president of the Merchant Navy Association, Vivien Foster, who has been laying a wreath for the organisation at the Centoraph for twenty years, said “The whole situation is farcical”.
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