National ceremony in the United Kingdom
The ceremony at the Cenotaph
Group of wreaths laid during the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in London
The national ceremony is held in London at the Cenotaph on Whitehall.
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 started by Royal Marines buglers sounding Last Post and ended by Royal Marines buglers sounding The Rouse. Gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery fire a gun salute at the end of the silence.
The first wreath was traditionally laid on behalf of the nation by the Queen but as she ages her representative Prince of Wales, lays the first wreath. Wreaths are then laid by senior members of the Royal Family, formerly this including the Duke of Edinburgh but due to his age he now watches, alogside the queen from a balcony, and further wreaths are laid by the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, and the Duke of Kent. Other members of the Royal Family watch the ceremony from the Foreign Office balcony. Some members of the Royal Family may be abroad or in other parts of the United Kingdom where they will usually lay wreaths at local ceremonies.
Wreaths are then laid by the Prime Minister (and other Commonwealth leaders if they are present), leaders of major political parties, and the Foreign Secretary; Commonwealth High Commissioners, and the Irish Ambassador (since 2014); and representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force; the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets; and finally, the civilian emergency services.
A short religious service of remembrance is then conducted by the Bishop of London. The hymn O God Our Help In Ages Past is sung, led by the massed bands and the Choir of the Chapel Royal. The national anthem God Save the Queen is then sung, before the royal party depart.
Before the ceremony, military bands (Army, Marine, and RAF) play live music each year, following the list of the Traditional Music of Remembrance (see below).
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. They salute the Cenotaph (Empty Tomb in Greek) as they are paying tribute to all those it represents, to all those who died and who lie buried elsewhere.
As the veterans march back to Horse Guards Parade a member of the Royal Family takes their salute in front of the Guards Memorial.