‘Remembering Together’ at RBL Festival 2020

Saturday: Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2020; (BBC One, 9.10pm)
The book of remembrance is carried by Flt Lt Laura FosterThe book of remembrance is carried by Flt Lt Laura Foster
The book of remembrance is carried by Flt Lt Laura Foster

Covid-19 restrictions have brought a very different type of Remembrance this year, as people across the country are encouraged to mark it in their own way, rather than attending big gatherings.

Many events have been either changed or cancelled, but thankfully Hugh Edwards is at the Royal Albert Hall to present the traditional Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance show.

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In the year that marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, as well as the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, this pre-recorded programme pays tribute to the armed forces and remembers all victims of war and conflict through music, performance and reflection.

HRH The Prince of Wales gives a tribute at the Royal British Legion Festival of RemembranceHRH The Prince of Wales gives a tribute at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance
HRH The Prince of Wales gives a tribute at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance

The Royal British Legion’s theme this year is Remember Together, focusing on the importance of remembering the service, sacrifice and collaboration of the men and women of Britain, the Commonwealth and Allied nations who fought together and worked together.

Although there won’t be the usual audience filling the seats of the spectacular Royal Albert Hall this year, there will be safely-distanced specially invited guests to represent those who cannot be there in person.

Veterans, Military service personnel, representatives of the Civilian Services and those who have lost loved ones come together to give thanks and pay tribute to all who gave their lives in the service of their country, and who continue to risk their lives today.

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Remembrance of those who have died in this Covid pandemic also forms a backdrop to the event this year, as many will wish to mark the part played by the Armed Forces in protecting our lives over the past few months.

The show begins with special tributes from the Prince of Wales (who will be laying a wreath at the Cenotaph tomorrow morning), and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Then, veterans who served in Europe and the Far East will be honoured with readings by Oscar-nominated Harlots and Walking Dead actor Samantha Morton, The Long Song and Hold the Sunset star Kara-Leah Fernandes, and Sheffield-born West End and BBC Proms star Julian Ovenden.

Then in a musical tribute, EastEnders actress and singer Mica Paris, London-born songstress Freya Ridings, American theatre performer Marissa Wallace and pop star and former Strictly contestant Sophie Ellis-Bextor will perform alongside the military musicians from the Armed Forces.

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Plus, popular musical duo Michael Ball and Alfie Boe team up again to pay a surprise visit to veterans at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Finally, the nation’s most well-known veteran, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who won the hearts of the nation with his fundraising exploits this year, will share what remembrance means to him.

This year’s Royal British Legion Festival will be very different to all those that have gone before. However, what hasn’t changed is the heartfelt thanks of the nation, as well as the traditional closing act of remembrance, as thousands of poppy petals fall from the ceiling of the Royal Albert Hall.

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