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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Queen in WWII remembrance role
Flypast over Buckingham Palace
A flypast of WWII aircraft will drop a million poppies over The Mall
The central role the Queen is to play in the national commemorations to mark 60 years since the end of World War II has been revealed by the government.

After a service in Westminster Abbey on National Commemoration Day - Sunday 10 July - the Queen will also host a palace lunch and address the nation.

HMS Belfast will fire a salvo from the Thames to mark a two-minute silence.

And a Lancaster bomber will drop 1m poppies over The Mall after a celebrity show in nearby Horseguards Parade.

Celebrity show

The government chose 10 July to commemorate the end of the war as it falls midway between Victory in Europe (VE) Day and VJ Day, which marks the victory over Japan.

After attending the remembrance service in Westminster Abbey, the Queen will host a veterans' lunch, to be attended by 2,000 people, in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

In the afternoon she will be joined by the prime minister and 12,000 others at Horseguards Parade for an open show and will address the nation.

The sacrifices their generation made and the hardships that they endured are still acknowledged, valued and appreciated
John Reid

Celebrities, including TV host Bruce Forsyth, singer Petula Clark and actors Simon Callow, Jane Horrocks, Robert Hardy and Clare Sweeney, will take part in the Reflections of World War II show, along with the tri-Service orchestra and the Bach Choir.

Veterans' groups will conclude the commemorations by handing over their standards to the younger generation in an act of symbolism.

The Queen will then lead the "Parade of Banners and Standards" from The Mall to the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, where she and other members of the Royal family will gather on the balcony to watch the flypast of wartime aircraft.

In a further mark of respect, church bells will be rung across Britain.

Advertising campaign

Other events to mark the commemoration include a "living museum" in St James's Park from 4 to 10 July, while a series of wartime images will be projected onto Buckingham Palace in the run-up to the day.

A national advertising campaign, urging people to take part, will also be launched.

Defence Secretary John Reid said that the scale and scope of the events were intended to reflect the significance of the occasion.

"This year's commemorative events will enable us to demonstrate to those who lived through the war at home and abroad that the sacrifices their generation made and the hardships that they endured are still acknowledged, valued and appreciated," he said.

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