St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, Mons

Princes William and Harry, and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, to mark First World War Centenary in Belgium

Posted on on 30 April 2014
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It's been confirmed that Prince William, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry will be in Belgium on 4th August 2014 for events marking the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The Royal Household has announced that Prince William and Catherine are to represent the UK at an international service of remembrance in Liège hosted by King Philippe of the Belgians.

The German President, Joachim Gauck, will also be present.

The royal couple will then travel to St. Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons, where both British and German soldiers are buried, for a UK commemorative event at which Germany will also be represented. Prince Harry will join them there.

The British Ambassador in Brussels, Jonathan Brenton, said he was delighted that the Princes and the Duchess of Cambridge would be in Belgium for the Centenary. 

In a statement, he said: "These commemorations remind us of the important bond between our two countries and the sacrifices we shared together 100 years ago.

"It is vital that younger generations learn the lessons of the war by visiting memorials like St. Symphorien, lest we forget.

"So by paying tribute to the fallen in Belgium this August, their Royal Highnesses will show the way for younger generations to come."

St. Symphorien (above), on the outskirts of Mons, is the last resting place of 229 Commonwealth and 284 German soldiers. The cemetery also contains the graves of the first and the last Commonwealth servicemen killed in action, reflecting the battle lines of the Western Front in the opening and closing stages of the Great War.

Originally established by the Germany Army to bury the dead of the Battle of Mons in August 1914, St. Symphorien passed into the care of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission after the Armistice in 1918.

Before travelling to Mons, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge will join more than 50 heads of state at the international service of remembrance in Liège.

The ceremony, hosted by King Philippe and the Belgian Federal Government, will take place at the Mémorial Interalliés overlooking the city.

The monument was funded by public subscription in the Allied countries after the First World War to honour the sacrifice of those who fought.

Liège was the scene of the first big German assault on the western front after the invasion of neutral Belgium in 1914.

Source: British Embassy, Brussels

Date of press release publication: 30th April 2014

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

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