In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November, Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War at 11 a.m. in 1918. Remembrance Sunday is held “to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts”.
Across Britain Remembrance Sunday is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns and villages, attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and -women (principally members of the Royal British Legion), members of local armed forces regular and reserve units (Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines and Royal Marines Reserve, Army and Territorial Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Auxiliary Air Force), military cadet forces (Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps as well as the Combined Cadet Force) and youth organisations (e.g. Scouts, Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade and Guides). Wreaths of remembrance poppies are laid on the memorials and two minutes’ silence is held at 11 a.m. Church bells are usually rung half-muffled, creating a sombre effect.
The national ceremony is held in London at the Cenotaph on Whitehall and, since 2002, also at the Women’s Memorial. Wreaths are laid by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Kent, the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Prime Minister, leaders of major political parties and former Prime Ministers, the Foreign Secretary, the Commonwealth High Commissioners and representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets and the civilian services. Two minutes’ silence is held at 11 a.m., before the laying of the wreaths. The silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent. This silence is marked by the firing of a field gun on Horse Guards Parade to begin and end the silence, followed by Royal Marines buglers sounding Last Post. RAF buglers sound The Rouse.
Military bands (Army, Marine & RAF) play live music each year, following the list of the Traditional Music of Remembrance (see below).
Other members of the British Royal Family watch from the balcony of the Foreign Office.
After the ceremony, as the bands play, a huge parade of veterans, organised by the Royal British Legion, marches past the Cenotaph. Each contingent salutes the Cenotaph as they pass and a great many wreaths are handed over to be laid at it. As the veterans march back to Horse Guards Parade a member of the Royal Family takes their salute in front of the Guards Memorial.