This week at the Thiepal Memorial in Northern France, Prince William and Duchess Catherine (aka Kate Middleton) attended a ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, which took place in 1916 during the First World War.
The brutal battle lasted for over four months, and resulted in a death and injury toll of more than one million soldiers, many of them British, French, and German. The Battle of the Somme is remembered as one of the bloodiest moments of any war; on the first day alone, the British had more than 50,000 casualties.
Along with William and Kate, the ceremony was also attended by Prince Harry, as well as the Prime Ministers of France and the UK. The ceremony took place near a large memorial inscribed with all the names of soldiers and servicemen who went missing during the battle, and included numerous performances from military bands and bagpipe players, as well as poetry and speeches.
In front of ten thousand guests, Prince William made a speech acknowledging that this battle was among the saddest days in British military history. He also mentioned the failure of European governments to “prevent the catastrophe of world war.”
You can see some of the footage here, including some of Prince William and Kate’s tour of the Thiepal Memorial, which is utilized every year for a service commemorating this battle.
While this day in history remains a sad one for Britain, France, and many European nations, it is also a reminder of how far they’ve come, and the strength they continue to possess. As for Prince William and Duchess Kate, we’ll continue to follow the noble pursuits of their busy royal lives, as well as their fairytale romance.