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Royal Family to lead commemorations for Battle of the Somme centenary

16 February 2016

Members of the Royal Family will lead the nation in commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme this summer.


Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, will attend an Evening Vigil at Westminster Abbey on 30 June, to mark the eve of the start of the conflict.

HRH The Prince of Wales, accompanied by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, will attend commemorative events in France on 1 July.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge, accompanied by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales, will also attend the commemorative events in France on 30 June and 1 July.

Further details about the royal engagements are expected to be released at a later date.

The UK Government has already announced details of a national commemorative event to be held at the CWGC Thiepval Memorial, France, on 1 July.

The Thiepval Memorial is the largest Commonwealth war memorial in the world and bears the names of more than 72,000 men who died on the Somme and have no known grave. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it also commemorates the alliance between the British Empire and France. Beside the memorial is a cemetery with equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves, brought together from all over the battlefield.

The Somme Offensive lasted for twelve 'battles', across a total of 141 days, from 1 July to 18 November 1916.

In addition to the event on 1 July next year, the CWGC is working in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and The Royal British Legion (RBL) to develop a programme of events across the 141 Days.

Together, we aim to highlight the sacrifice of those who served and honour those who lost their lives, with a range of events and acts of commemoration focused on the CWGC's cemeteries and memorials across the Somme battlefield.

Follow this link for more details.