Duchess of Cornwall compliments Gosport kilt-wearing veteran in Armistice Day preparations

The Duchess of Cornwall complimented a veteran sporting a kilt before putting the finishing touches to a Remembrance wreath ahead of Armistice Day.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 9:11 am
The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to open the new facilities at the Poppy Factory in Richmond, south west London. Picture date: Tuesday November 9, 2021. Picture: PA/Geoff Pugh/Daily Telegraph

Camilla, who is patron of The Poppy Factory, visited the charity’s new facilities in Richmond-upon-Thames, south-west London, on Tuesday and added a final poppy to the wreath her husband – the Prince of Wales – will lay at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

Wearing a Bruce Oldfield red wool crepe dress, she also completed a custom-made Remembrance cross which she will place at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Thursday to mark Armistice Day – the day in 1918 when the agreement to end fighting in the First World War came into effect.

Standing in front of a replica of the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, Camilla spoke to navy kilt-wearing veteran Kris Darling, who served with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The 43-year-old, who has opened his own veteran group called Ravens Halls in Gosport, told the PA news agency: ‘The duchess said it was nice to see someone wearing a kilt.’

Working all year round to make 120,000 royal and regimental wreaths, the duchess was greeted by the longest serving employee of The Poppy Factory, 62-year-old George Forbes.

Camilla said: ‘It is your 43rd year my goodness me, there is nothing you don’t know about the place.’

After shaking her hand, Mr Forbes – whose father served with the RAF in the Second World War – told the duchess he could make around five wreaths an hour, using 28 poppies per wreath.

Speaking with deaf specialist royal wreath makers Paul Hammerton and Peter Wills – who had an interpreter – the duchess said they had made a “beautiful wreath” before she added the final poppy and received a round of applause.

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Shaking hands with the duchess, 44-year-old RAF veteran Andrew Jones, who had served for 14 years, told the PA agency how he had found himself in a “very dark place” before receiving career support from The Poppy Factory.

In the poppy making area, the duchess added a petal to the custom-made cross adorned with her royal crest, which she will lay at the opening of the 93rd Field of Remembrance alongside 70,000 others.

Ahead of The Poppy Factory’s centenary in 2022, Camilla unveiled a stone plaque to commemorate the opening of the building.

She added: ‘I think you do a fantastic job between you and it is just so important that we look after the veterans after the service they give this country.’

At the service on Thursday, Camilla will place her cross before the Last Post will sound moments before a two-minute silence.

In a nod to tradition and following in the footsteps of the late Duke of Edinburgh, the duchess will then lay flowers at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.