Passchendaele 100: William and Kate to join commemorations

The Menin Gate at Ypres near the site of the Battle

Politicians and royalty joined relatives of the dead for the centenary of the 103-day battle in western Belgium in which more than half a million Allied and German troops were killed or wounded.

The Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, and Theresa May are now heading to Ypres for events to mark the occasion.

A live programme presented today by Kirsty Young be followed with another tomorrow from 11am and 7pm, from a special BBC studio at the Commonwealth Grave Commission's Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Prince William stood with Belgium's King Philippe during a ceremony honoring the dead.

"The name Passchendaele resonates with anyone with even a passing knowledge of the First World War. One hundred years on, we still stand together, gathering as so many do every night, in remembrance of that sacrifice".




As he spoke, thousands of paper poppies were dropped from the roof of the gate, which is engraved with the names of 54,391 British soldiers who have no known grave. The duchess Catherine, who had opted for outfits clear the two days, as to bring light into these black memories, has laid a wreath.

On Sunday, Prince William said: "Members of our families; our regiments; our nations; all sacrificed everything for the lives we live today".

It featured performances from Dame Helen Mirren and journalist Ian Hislop, who introduced a sketch from his First World War play The Wipers Times.

The British and Commonwealth attacks were fought near the Belgian city of Ypres between July 31 and November 10, 1917, in battlefields that turned to liquid mud and summed up in poet Siegfried Sassoon's line "I died in hell, they called it Passchendaele".

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