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Charles leads nation in Remembrance Sunday tribute

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh watched the service from a Foreign and Commonwealth Office balcony.

The Prince of Wales has led the nation in honouring the country’s war dead on Remembrance Sunday, as the Queen observed the service from a balcony.

The Queen asked Charles to lay her wreath at the Cenotaph, in what is believed to be the first time the monarch has broken with tradition and not performed the symbolic duty when at the Whitehall service.

A two-minute silence took place at 11am and wreaths were laid at the foot of the Whitehall memorial by senior royals and political leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh watched the service from a Foreign and Commonwealth Office balcony.

The Cenotaph ceremony is a poignant and significant event in the life of the nation which normally involves the Queen leading the country in remembering those who have died in world wars and other conflicts, so Charles’ role in laying the wreath was a significant moment.

Buckingham Palace announced the change last month, which is seen as an example of the subtle shift of head of state duties from the Queen to the heir to the throne.

Earlier this year Philip, 96, retired from his solo public duties, but on occasion has joined the Queen at her official engagements.

Philip’s equerry laid his wreath, while Charles also laid his own wreath.

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent laid wreaths.

Other political figures laying wreaths included Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable, and Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Joining the Queen in observing the service from Foreign Office balconies were the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

The firing of a gun marked the end of the silence, and The Last Post was sounded by the Buglers of the Royal Marines before the wreaths were laid.

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The Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Charles has laid a wreath before on behalf of the Queen, in 1983 when she was out of the country, and when the Queen was in South Africa in 1999 she laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Durban.

This year marks the centenaries of women’s service in the regular armed forces, the Battle of Passchendaele and the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as well as the 100th birthday of forces’ sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn.

It also marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein and the creation of the RAF Regiment.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar laid a green laurel wreath at the Cenotaph at Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh.

It is 30 years since an IRA bombing there killed 12 on Remembrance Sunday.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, DUP leader Arlene Foster, Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable George Hamilton and the US representative in Belfast laid wreaths.

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