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Saturday, November 13, 1999 Published at 18:49 GMT


Prince Charles joins veterans' tribute

Poppies are symbols of the fields where soldiers were killed

Prince Charles joined war veterans at a festival of remembrance in London where thousands of poppy petals fell during a minute's silence.

He represented the Queen at the two-hour spectacular attended by about 3,000 former servicemen and women, at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The Queen usually leads the service, but she was absent because of her state visit to South Africa where the heads of the Commonwealth are meeting.

[ image: Queen: Spoke to the service from South Africa]
Queen: Spoke to the service from South Africa
Instead, she made a speech in Durban which was shown on a huge video screen in the Albert Hall.

She told veterans that it was appropriate that she was speaking from South Africa because the Commonwealth has played an important part in maintaining peace over the years.

"I believe that the Commonwealth, with its shared sense of purpose and its commitment to common values, can serve this weekend to bring us all together in thanks for the past and in hope for the future," she said.

"Here, as in London, people share the resolve that 'we will remember them'."

[ image: A remembrance service will be held on Sunday at the Cenotaph]
A remembrance service will be held on Sunday at the Cenotaph
Other members of the Royal family present at the Albert Hall included the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, Princess Alexandra and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Personal expressions of remembrance were given by Sara Jones, whose husband was killed in the Falklands, and from Simon Weston, the former Welsh Guard who was badly burned when his ship was blown up during the conflict.

Earlier on Saturday war widows ensured their husbands were remembered by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

About 100 members of the War Widows Association of Great Britain, including women whose husbands were killed in the most recent conflicts, travelled from around the country for the occasion.

Chairwoman Mary Brailsford laid the association's wreath of a cross of white chrysanthemums with a centre of red poppies.

The white chrysanthemum is the symbol of the association, chosen because it was the cheapest flower available when it was formed.

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