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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Jennifer Newton

Queen Camilla and Princess Kate forced to hold onto hats as they arrive at Commonwealth Day

The Princess of Wales and Queen Consort were forced to hang on to their hats as they battled the blustery weather to support King Charles at his first annual Commonwealth Day service as King.

Nearly all the key members of the Firm gathered for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, where he will be crowned in less than two months time.

Among those attending the Commonwealth Day service were also the Prince of Wales, the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh Edward and Sophie as well as Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

Missing out were Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, whose names weren't listed in the official programme - and will be at school today.

Camilla battles the wind as she enters the Abbey (James Whatling)
Camilla hangs on to her hat (Stephen Lock / i-Images)

Eagle-eyed fans also noticed that the order of service referred to Edward and Sophie by their previous titles the Earl and Countess of Wessex, despite being made the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh last week.

Meanwhile some protestors from an anti-monarchy group staged a demonstration outside the Abbey and held up placards saying "Not My King".

Kate opted for a Erdem navy suit and a broach with the Prince of Wales feathers - and even had to hold on to her hat as the windy weather almost saw her hat blow off as she went into the Abbey.

Camilla finally reaches the safety of the Abbey (pixel8000)
The windy weather forced Kate to hold on to her hat as she entered the Abbey (Max Mumby)

Camilla donned a blue Fiona Clare outfit and was also affected by the elements as the wind almost got the better of her Philip Treacy hat, forcing her to take shelter in the Abbey - leaving the King alone to greet dancers performing outside the venue.

She was also wearing the late Queen Elizabeth II’s sapphire and diamond brooch. The sparkling diamond and sapphire piece set in platinum was worn by Princess Elizabeth for the official photos taken on her honeymoon with the late Duke of Edinburgh at Broadlands in Hampshire in 1947.

One safely inside, the royals shook hands with assembled guests before chatting with each other and taking part in a procession down the nave of the Abbey. Sophie looked elegant in cream while Anne went for a green ensemble.

Kate battles against the elements (Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
Kate's outfit was by Erdem (Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Charles is now head of the Commonwealth, following in the late Queen’s footsteps after she successfully lobbied for him to take on the role.

And during the service he gave a speech where he issued a rallying call to the family of nations urging them to "strive together" to achieve a "global common good".

Charles highlighted the institution’s “indispensable role in the most pressing issues of our time” in his speech delivered during the annual Westminster Abbey service celebrating the Commonwealth.

The King also had to battle the windy conditions (PA)
It is Charles' first Commonwealth Day as monarch (PA)

He also paid tribute to his "beloved mother", describing how Commonwealth Day was a moment of pride for the late Queen Elizabeth who "dedicated her long and remarkable life" in service to the "Commonwealth family".

The service also included musical performances from saxophonist Yolanda Brown, West End stars Roshani Abbey and Nuwan Hugh Perera, and the all-female Amalgamation Choir, from Cyprus.

Guests of honour among the 2,000-strong congregation included the Commonwealth secretary-general, the prime minister of Samoa, high commissioners, senior politicians and dignitaries from across the UK and the Commonwealth.

The royals inside the Abbey watch the service (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The royals before the procession through the Abbey (PA)

Also attending were athletes from the home nations who competed at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last summer, as well as faith leaders, and more than 750 schoolchildren and young people from throughout the UK.

The Commonwealth Day theme for 2023 is Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future, and comes at a time when Charles has experienced great turbulence in his relationship with his youngest son, Prince Harry.

The annual service was the scene of Harry and wife Meghan Markle's final official public engagement as senior working royals in 2020.

The new Duchess of Edinburgh greets those at the Commonwealth Day service (PA)
Princess Anne at the service today (PA)

The couple, who stepped down for a new life in the US, have yet to confirm whether they will attend the King’s Coronation, but have received email correspondence about it from Charles’ office.

Harry’s controversial autobiography Spare, published at the start of the year, included claims that William physically attacked him and that Charles did not hug him when he told him of Diana, Princess of Wales’s death.

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