With Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, the beginning of November is often a sombre time in the UK.
As part of remembering those who fell in World War One and the conflicts since, people typically wear poppies around 11 November.
The Queen, who is the head of the armed forces, is often seen sporting a poppy.
But in more recent years, she has been photographed wearing five of them.
So why does the UK’s head of state wear so many?
Why does the Queen wear five poppies?
No official reason has been given for why the Queen wears five poppies on 11 November and Remembrance Sunday.
However, there are three main theories which could explain why the monarch does this:
The most popular theory for why the monarch wears five poppies is that each poppy represents a different service from the two world wars.
These are: the Army, RAF, Navy, Civil Defence and Women.
There is a school of thought that the number of poppies she wears has no real meaning, but that the ensemble is instead a fashion gesture.
Resembling a corsage, the Queen often accompanies the flowers with a brooch that appears to form the flowers’ stems.
Poppies have moved on from being solely made from paper in recent years, with many people wearing metal poppy badges and other stylish designs.
- Status symbol
A more unlikely potential reason for the five poppies is that they could denote the Queen’s authority.
It has been suggested they are somehow symbolic of the Queen’s position as the head of the Royal Family, head of the armed services as well as the highest-ranking dignitary at the Remembrance Sunday service.
But this theory is unlikely to be the case given Her Majesty has always sought to give off a humble stance in her public duties.
What is the Queen’s role on 11 November and Remembrance Sunday?
As the head of the armed forces, the Queen leads the UK in acts of remembrance.
For almost seven decades as sovereign, she has been the first to place a wreath at the Cenotaph - the UK’s central World War One memorial - to pay tribute to the British and Commonwealth lives lost in conflicts over the past century.
The Monarch is typically followed in this act by the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Mayor of London and other politicians, officials and armed forces personnel.
Due to her advancing years, the Queen has not laid a wreath down herself since 2017, with Prince Charles now fulfilling this role.
But she still attends the ceremony, sitting on a balcony overlooking the Cenotaph.
Will the Queen attend Remembrance Sunday 2021?
After a period of ill health which has seen her cancel visits to Northern Ireland and her reception for world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow, there was uncertainty around whether Her Majesty would be able to attend the 2021 Remembrance Sunday ceremony.
However, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday (11 November) that the Queen would be attending the event at the Cenotaph in central London.
It will be the first time she will have done so since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh in April 2021.
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