Sombre on the sidelines, the Queen sees Charles play the part of King: ROBERT HARDMAN watches Her Majesty take in the full, humbling spectacle of Remembrance Sunday

Mail Online | 11/13/2017 | Robert Hardman for the Daily Mail
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After 65 years as the focal point of a nation’s thoughts, it must have felt a little strange to be a spectator.

But at least the Queen was finally able to take in the full, humbling spectacle of Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph yesterday as she watched proceedings from a Whitehall balcony.

Monarch - Wreath - Prince - Wales - Date

The Monarch had entrusted her wreath to the Prince of Wales for the most sacred date in the royal calendar. At one point a tear could be seen in her eye, though royal observers put this down to a harsh Arctic breeze ushering in a cold snap rather than a public display of emotion.

It was a powerful moment, nonetheless. Flanked by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of Cornwall behind her Foreign Office balustrade, the Queen could survey the one occasion of the year when all the Royal Family, all the party leaders, all former prime ministers and representatives of every Commonwealth nation gather in the heart of the capital.

Occasions - Queen - Parade - Tour - Baby

On the six previous occasions when the Queen had been absent from the parade, she was either on an overseas tour or expecting a baby. Never before had she been an onlooker at the 11am ceremony. It will not have been a decision taken lightly.

Officially, she took it in order to be alongside the Duke of Edinburgh, following his retirement from public duties earlier this year. Unofficially, it defied common sense to expect a head of state in her 92nd year to walk down the Cenotaph step backwards on live television, as this ceremony has always required.

Queen - Place - Evidence - Interest - Everything

But if the Queen was not in her usual place, she was very much in evidence and taking a keen interest in everything.

Being on a balcony meant she was actually more visible than before to the vast crowds, ten deep in places. So...
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