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Chapel Royal perform at the Cenotaph

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Second Former Joseph is part of the Chapel Royal. He wrote about his experience performing at the National Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph. 

Last Sunday I performed for the Chapel Royal at the National Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph. It was barely light when I had to leave home, but at least I could enjoy the incredible luxury of not having to stand for the duration of the tube journey into Central London. After getting into St James’s Palace, we had a brief rehearsal. Soon, we were being bussed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and putting on the Chapel Royal State Uniforms in a small office room with a mantle piece but no fire. Despite the fact we were waiting to perform on national television, there was still time for a cup of tea and some custard creams.

Eventually, we began to process towards the outside door. As we processed, It was surprising how the building changed as we went into the more formal areas. Only ten metres separated the strictly utilitarian office area from the high-ceilinged, carpeted ceremonial areas.

After standing for a few minutes in a narrow entrance hall overlooking the Cenotaph, we abruptly began to march outside. As we moved out the bugles began to play and we processed around the war memorial. I was furiously staring at the next person’s feet to walk in time whilst attempting to look straight ahead.

The service was planned to perfection and every second seemed to matter. It was incredible seeing the great and good of English politics, past and present. Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, David Cameron, Tony Blair were all lined up fifty metres away from where I stood. The entire area was surrounded by a wall of uniformed men with bayonets. The general public was barely visible, almost as if they had been hidden away. It was easy to tell they were there though, due to the lines of metal barriers.

As the wreath laying went on I took a brief glance up to the balcony from where the Queen was watching the proceedings down below. I couldn’t catch much emotion but I wonder if she was sad watching the monarch’s wreath being laid by Prince Charles, instead of taking part in the proceedings herself.

I feel really privileged to have been part of such a historic occasion.

(Photo credit: Press Association

 

I feel really privileged to have been part of such a historic occasion.
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