Remembrance Sunday service shortened

The Queen lays a wreath at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony on Whitehall last year. Picture: Getty
The Queen lays a wreath at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony on Whitehall last year. Picture: Getty
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POLITICIANS will lay wreaths individually at the Cenotaph remembrance service after plans to change the format in order to reduce the time the 89-year-old Queen and ageing veterans had to wait were abandoned.

It had been proposed to shorten the service to ensure the elderly spend less time on their feet by way of politicians laying wreaths at the same time, rather than individually.

David Cameron was to lay a wreath on his own, but the leaders of the main opposition parties would not.

However “after discussions” it has been decided the format for political leaders will remain as last year, the government said.

“This can happen while still keeping the service slightly shorter,” the Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman added.

The annual remembrance event, which will take place on 8 November led by the Queen, honours those killed in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond had told The Times: “The Remembrance Day service has been supported on an all-party basis since just after the First World War. I would advise the government and anyone else connected that it is not in anyone’s interest to tamper with it.”

Downing Street had said it was not aware of any opposition parties raising concerns about their leaders’ proposed involvement.

The format changes had been supported by Veterans Scotland general secretary Jim Wilson, who said: “I wouldn’t say that I disagree with him [Salmond], but the format of a Remembrance ceremony should be able to change in recognition of the abilities, or dare I say, disabilities of those on parade. Its structure should be down to those who are organising it. If you have people who are north of 90 taking part then the organisers should be allowed to recognise those who are taking part.”

Yesterday SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson declined to comment on the changes, which would have diminished his role in the ceremony.

A Palace spokesman said: “The Royal Household is entirely content with the arrangements for this year’s Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph.”

No details have been released of how much time is expected to be saved.