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Princess Kate - Kate Middleton - is to Honour the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior on her Wedding Day

It has been announced that on her wedding day, Kate Middleton will place her bouquet on the Unknown Warrior’s tomb in Westminster Abbey. This gesture has become something of a tradition amongst royal weddings since it was first introduced by the Queen Mother in 1923 after her wedding ceremony to King George VI. Princess Diana followed the tradition as part of the wedding celebrations for her marriage to Prince Charles on 29 July 1981, after their ceremony which was held at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The British tomb acts as a symbolic war grave for all the unnamed soldiers who have served in warfare. The tomb itself holds an unidentified British soldier who was killed during the First World War and buried in the tomb on 11 November 1920. Reverend David Railton conceived the idea for the Unknown Warrior’s tomb in 1916. Railton, an army chaplain on the Western Front, came across a tombstone baring a cross with the words: ‘An Unknown British Soldier’ scrawled in pencil and used it as inspiration for the tomb at Westminster Abbey.

At the time, King George V had rejected the proposal for the tomb because it was in such a short succession after the war. Others were more supportive of the idea, particularly the Dean of Westminster and Prime Minister David Lloyd George, as well as the families of soldiers who were lost at war. The tomb took several days to position and the ceremony included a congregation of one hundred women who had all lost their husbands and sons as a result of the war.

It is believed that Kate Middleton is fully supportive of the tradition and wishes to follow it on her wedding day on 29 April 2011. A source revealed that: “Kate thinks the tradition is a lovely one and is very keen to make the gesture.” The tradition is more important now than ever, particularly as Princes William and Harry have served in the forces themselves, experiencing losses to colleagues and friends in Iraq and Afghanistan. This gesture will reinforce the tradition set by the Queen Mother and the source added that: “...this will be a very meaningful thing to do.”

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