The Duchess of Cambridge joined her husband Prince William and brother-in-law Prince Harry in France to honour the worst day in British military history, the Battle of the Somme.
The royal trio visited the site of the Battle of the Somme, which was fought in WWI by the French and British armies against the German Empire.
The first day of the battle on July 1, 1916, saw more than 57,000 casualties among the British troops. More than one million men were wounded or killed there, making it one of the bloodiest battles in all of history.
Kate made a sensible decision to keep her outfit classic with colours and design to suit the environment of the vigil. She wore a black and white ensemble complete with a pillbox hat which brings back memories of Jackie Kennedy when she went through the hardship of losing her husband.
Kate, William and Harry’s attendance was more than just an appearance as the royal family has a personal connection to the brutal battle.
The Duchess of Cornwall Camilla’s great-uncle, Captain Henry Archibald Cubitt, a 24-year-old member of the Coldstream Guards was among those killed. He was the eldest of three brothers who died in area of the Somme – a battle that dragged on until November 18, 1916 – within 18 months of each other, reports People.
William who spoke from the steps of the memorial, offered his respects to the fallen, “One hundred years ago tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. the British army attacked German lines across these fields. To the young men eager to fight it was known as the ‘Big Push.’ The joint British and French offensive intended to put unbearable pressure on the German army and hasten an end to the war.
“Most of those who went over the top that day were wartime volunteers. Some as young as 16. Some had already seen action. For others the Somme was their first experience of battle. By the end of the 1st of July the British Army had sustained almost 60,00 casualties, of whom nearly one third had died. We lost the flower of a generation. And in the years to come it sometimes seemed that with them a sense of vital optimism had disappeared forever from British life. It was, in many ways, the saddest day in the long story of our nation.
“Tonight we think of them as they nerved themselves for what lay ahead. We acknowledge the failures of European governments, including our own, to prevent the catastrophe of World War.
“We offer our humblest respects to each man who fought in the Battle of the Somme from every corner of the British Isles and from across the Commonwealth. We honor those whose names are recorded on this memorial. More than 72,000 who have no know grave. And to those who lie buried in Commonwealth war cemeteries.
“And tonight we stand here with a promise to those men. We will remember you. The gift you gave your country is treasured by every one of us this day. The sacrifice you made will never, ever, be forgotten.”
Kate also joined William and Harry in visiting the top of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, a war memorial that honours the 72,195 missing British and South African servicemen who died in the Battle of the Somme.
Kate, William and Harry arrive at the venue…