Published 30 July 2017

Members of the Royal Family joined commemorations to mark the anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War

30th July
Events began on the eve of the anniversary of the start of the battle which lasted over three months and claimed more than 500,000 lives. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, which has taken place every night since 1928.

His Royal Highness laid a wreath and gave a short speech about the ceremony, thanking those who began and continue the tradition of Remembrance:

At the Memorial’s inauguration, the British commander Field Marshall Lord Plumer spoke movingly to the assembled families, saying of their lost loved ones: ‘He is not missing; he is here’. 

The local Police Superintendent attended the same inauguration ceremony. He heard the sounding of the Last Post and was so moved, that he and his friends later resolved to play it, here, every evening in perpetuity. A simple tribute from local people to those who fought.

Two hundred descendants whose ancestors are named on the Gate attended alongside representatives from nations who fought on the Salient. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also attended an event Market Square Ypres for an event which tells the story of the four years of war.

31st July

Events continued on the 100th anniversary of the first day of the battle as The Prince of Wales, accompanied by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, attended commemorations at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.

The Prince of Wales and The King and Queen of the Belgians later officially opened the Zonnebeke Church Dugout, a preserved First World War dugout which forms part of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele and the British Memorial Garden in Passchendaele Memorial Park.

Finally, The Prince attended the Welsh National Service of Remembrance at the Welsh National Memorial Park before visiting the graves of poets Hedd Wyn and Francis Ledwidge at the Artillery Wood Cemetery.