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Queen pays tribute at WW1 garden

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry took time to reflect on the sacrifice of fallen soldiers during Remembrance engagements.

Wearing a coat echoing the camel colour of the uniforms worn by soldiers in the conflict 100 years ago, the Queen was among those to place a wreath at the dedication of the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden at Wellington Barracks in central London.

The garden, a short walk from Buckingham Palace, was created with soil taken from 70 battlefields and war grave cemeteries in Flanders, Belgium, where millions died.

The official opening marked a year-long journey to collect and lay the soil, gathered by schoolchildren from the UK and Belgium in 70 sandbags.

Philip, in his role as senior colonel of the Household Division and colonel of the Grenadier Guards, was also present for the soil-gathering ceremony in Ypres on Armistice Day last year.

William and the King of Belgium were among those visiting London to see the gardens opened today, accompanied by music from the band of the Grenadier Guards and the state trumpeters of the Household Cavalry.

Addressing the audience, curator Andrew Wallis said: "This project is about honouring the fallen of the Great War.

"The design of the garden is full of meaningful features. It is a wonderful fusion of Belgo-Anglo craftsmanship."

Designed by Belgian architect Piet Blanckaert, the garden was inspired by the design of the First World War memorials and carries the insignia of all the seven guards regiments whose members sacrificed their lives on the battlefields.

It features levels of soil designed to replicate the final resting place of fallen soldiers, as well as a central circular bed and an inscription from John McCrae's In Flanders Fields.

It also includes a bench made from Flemish bluestone and trees indigenous to the battlefields.

William's brother, Harry, spent the morning meeting veterans and members of the Royal British Legion and Poppy Factory at Westminster Abbey as he was shown around the 100,000 crosses that have been planted at the Field of Remembrance in memory of fallen soldiers.

Harry laid a cross of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the graves of unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.

Among those Harry spoke to was Lisa McKinlay whose husband Lance Corporal Jonathan McKinlay, 33, was killed in Afghanistan in September 2011. The couple had been married for just 10 months.

Ms McKinlay, 35, from Lancashire, said: "It is nerve racking but I like attending these events because for me it's about remembering my husband."

She described Harry as "lovely", adding: "I have a lot of respect for him anyway. It's nice to speak to someone who knows what the processes are.

"When you are talking to him you know that he knows."

D-Day veteran Don Sheppard, 94, who served in the Royal Engineers, said events like today are "very important".

He said they are crucial so that "the younger generations can see what we have done".

This is the second time Harry, who was wearing a Blues and Royals frock coat, has visited the Field of Remembrance, as he accompanied the Duke of Edinburgh last year. The late Queen Mother also carried out this engagement.

The first Field of Remembrance was held in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in November 1928. That year only two Remembrance Tribute Crosses were planted. But it began a tradition that took root and has grown over the decades.

The Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey will be open to the public until Sunday November 16.

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