Belfast Telegraph

Royals to mark war centenary events

Three major national commemorative events, attended by members of the Royal family, will mark the centenary of the start of the First World War this August.

The events in Glasgow, Mons in Belgium, and London, form a key part of the Government's centenary programme and span the whole day on August 4 - the 100th anniversary of the date war was declared.

At 10am, a service at Glasgow Cathedral will reflect the Commonwealth contribution to the war, followed by a wreath-laying service at the Cenotaph in George Square where a commemorative plaque will also be unveiled.

The events will be attended by the Prince of Wales, and the cathedral service will be shown live in George Square.

At 7.30pm on August 4, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will attend a commemorative event at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium.

The site, which was given to the German army by a Belgian landowner on the condition that the cemetery provided a resting place for the dead from both sides, contains the the graves of the first British soldier killed on the Western Front and the last British and Commonwealth soldiers killed before the Armistice, along with the first recipient of the Victoria Cross in the First World War.

The twilight event for around 500 guests has been organised in partnership with the CWGC, which looks after 23,000 sites across 153 countries, and w ill be based around music, poetry and readings.

And at 10pm, a candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey, which will include the gradual extinguishing of candles, will be attended by the Duchess of Cornwall.

The final candle will be extinguished at 11pm - the exact time that Britain joined the First World War - and the vigil will end with the cathedral in darkness except for a single light on the grave of the unknown warrior.

Anglican churches around the UK will also be participating, along with other faith groups, to complement the event in London, including services at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast and Llandaff Cathedral, Wales.

The services are part of a wide series of events that will mark 100 years since the Great War.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: "The First World War fundamentally changed the world. It also took the lives of millions of people all over the world, and left still more with disabling injuries.

"So it is absolutely right that we mark its centenary and that we put remembrance at the heart of this commemoration.

"We have created a programme of events that will help everyone in Britain, especially the young, understand and appreciate what's happened, and the ultimate sacrifice that so many made during that time."

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