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Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds joke with Chelsea Pensioners after Remembrance Sunday ceremony

Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds chatted to Britain’s war veterans during today’s Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Whitehall. 

The Prime Minister, 56, and Ms Symonds, 32, walked arm in arm in Whitehall in Central London to meet the retired veterans, who included members of the Chelsea Pensioners.

The former soldiers wore their bright red buttoned-up tunics and tricorne hats and had bright smiles on their faces as they engaged in conversation with Mr Johnson and his partner. 

Also lined up to meet the PM was retired bus driver and Second World War veteran Ian Aitchison, who wore his medals on his blue overcoat as he showed Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds old photographs. 

The couple’s meetings came after Mr Johnson was joined by the Queen, Prince Charles and other senior politicians in paying their respects to Britain’s war dead at the Cenotaph.

Because of the coronavirus crisis, members of the public were unable to attend the event in person and only 26 veterans were able to line up on parade. Usually, around 10,000 take part in the commemorations. 

Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds chatted to Britain’s war veterans during today’s Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Whitehall

The Prime Minister, 56, and Ms Symonds, 32, walked arm in arm in Whitehall in Central London to meet the retired veterans, who included members of the Chelsea Pensioners (pictured)

The Prime Minister, 56, and Ms Symonds, 32, walked arm in arm in Whitehall in Central London to meet the retired veterans, who included members of the Chelsea Pensioners (pictured) 

Also lined up to meet the PM was retired bus driver and army veteran Ian Aitchison, who wore his medals on his blue overcoat as he showed Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds old photographs

Also lined up to meet the PM was retired bus driver and army veteran Ian Aitchison, who wore his medals on his blue overcoat as he showed Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds old photographs

In what was one of their first official engagements since the birth of their son Wilfred in April, Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds looked very comfortable in each other’s company. 

Dressing for the solemn occasion, Ms Symonds wore a simple black coat along with a headband which boasted gold leaf detailing. Both she and Mr Johnson also displayed poppies on their lapels. 

They were seen laughing as they chatted to the Chelsea Pensioners – who live in the Royal Hospital Chelsea retirement home in Chelsea.

All Chelsea Pensioners need to have served in the Army for at least 12 years or to have been awarded a disablement pension to be granted admission. They also  have to be over 65.

At their meeting with Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds, the select few who were allowed to take part despite the Covid-19 restrictions looked to be very much enjoying their chance to chat.  

The former soldiers wore their bright red buttoned-up tunics and tricorne hats and had bright smiles on their faces as they engaged in conversation with Mr Johnson and his partner. The couple also met other veterans

The former soldiers wore their bright red buttoned-up tunics and tricorne hats and had bright smiles on their faces as they engaged in conversation with Mr Johnson and his partner. The couple also met other veterans

In what was one of their first official engagements since the birth of their son Wilfred in April, Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds looked very comfortable in each other's company

In what was one of their first official engagements since the birth of their son Wilfred in April, Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds looked very comfortable in each other’s company

At their meeting with Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds, the select few who were allowed to take part despite the Covid-19 restrictions looked to be very much enjoying their chance to chat

At their meeting with Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds, the select few who were allowed to take part despite the Covid-19 restrictions looked to be very much enjoying their chance to chat

Dressing for the solemn occasion, Ms Symonds wore a simple black coat along with a headband which boasted gold leaf detailing

Dressing for the solemn occasion, Ms Symonds wore a simple black coat along with a headband which boasted gold leaf detailing

They were seen engaging in animated conversation with former bus driver and war veteran Mr Aitchison

They were seen engaging in animated conversation with former bus driver and war veteran Mr Aitchison

Earlier, Mr Johnson had led members of Britain’s establishment as they observed a two-minute silence at 11am before laying wreaths at the Cenotaph. 

Other politicians at the annual event included former prime ministers Theresa May, David Cameron, Tony Blair and John Major, as well as Home Secretary Priti Patel, labour leader Sir Kier Starmer and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.   

The public were unable to attend because of lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people across the UK instead privately paid their respects from home, while others did head to their local war memorials for socially-distanced ceremonies. 

The Queen watched on from the royal box at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office as Prince Charles laid a wreath on her behalf.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Edward and his wife the Countess of Wessex were among other royals who were also in attendance. 

Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds walked arm in arm as they arrived to meet and talk to veterans in Whitehall on Sunday

Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds walked arm in arm as they arrived to meet and talk to veterans in Whitehall on Sunday

Another veteran wore a green beret as he stood and chatted to the Prime Minister and his fiancée Ms Symonds

Another veteran wore a green beret as he stood and chatted to the Prime Minister and his fiancée Ms Symonds  

The couple welcomed their baby son Wilfred in April. He was born just weeks after Mr Johnson spent time in intensive care with coroanvirus

The couple welcomed their baby son Wilfred in April. He was born just weeks after Mr Johnson spent time in intensive care with coroanvirus

On Sunday, Mr Johnson was pictured with a smile on his face despite the immense catalogue of issues, from coronavirus to Brexit negotiations, which he is dealing with

On Sunday, Mr Johnson was pictured with a smile on his face despite the immense catalogue of issues, from coronavirus to Brexit negotiations, which he is dealing with

Ms Symonds strode next to her future husband as he strode through Whitehall to meet some of Britain's former soldiers

Ms Symonds strode next to her future husband as he strode through Whitehall to meet some of Britain’s former soldiers

Across the country, the attendance at local war memorials was scaled back, with the Royal British Legion advising the public to commemorate remotely by displaying a poppy in their window or observing the silence on their doorstep.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said with growing Covid infection rates it was important the ‘balance’ was ‘right’ when asked about remembrance events staged with reduced numbers.

Speaking about the importance of the day, he added: ‘If we don’t learn from our history we are always destined to repeat the failures in the future.

‘Fundamentally remembering why people gave their lives to this country, to our values, and to helping those around the world who couldn’t help themselves – that’s important to never forget.

‘Right now, as we speak, thousands of men and women of the Armed Forces are helping the country’s resilience fight (against) Covid, they are in Liverpool in their thousands – that’s important for us to remember the troops are our backbone.

Mr Aitchison served in Normandy and survived the heavy bombing of Calais. He spent the final part of the war in Germany before returning home in 1947. After the war, he became a bus driver before retiring in 2003 at the age of 79

Mr Aitchison served in Normandy and survived the heavy bombing of Calais. He spent the final part of the war in Germany before returning home in 1947. After the war, he became a bus driver before retiring in 2003 at the age of 79

Mr Aitchison showed the Prime Minister and his partner some old photos before they met other veterans

Mr Aitchison showed the Prime Minister and his partner some old photos before they met other veterans

Earlier, Mr Johnson had led members of Britain's establishment as they observed a two-minute silence at 11am before laying wreaths at the Cenotaph

Earlier, Mr Johnson had led members of Britain’s establishment as they observed a two-minute silence at 11am before laying wreaths at the Cenotaph

The meeting with the veterans came after Mr Johnson had laid his wreath at the Cenotaph ahead of the two-minute silence at 11am

The meeting with the veterans came after Mr Johnson had laid his wreath at the Cenotaph ahead of the two-minute silence at 11am

‘These are the people that give Britain its strength, its security and are acting in all our interests. So, today is an opportunity to mark the contribution to Covid, but also remember all those that have gone before making sure Britain is a safe and stable country whose values are wanted all around the world.’ 

As the first chimes of Big Ben marking 11am rung out across a peaceful Whitehall in central London, all attending fell silent and stood still for two minutes.

Then, under grey skies, her son and heir carefully placed her floral tribute to the fallen at the base of the memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled by the Queen’s grandfather George V on Armistice Day, November 11 1920. 

The Queen was joined on the balcony by her lady-in-waiting Susan Rhodes, who stood socially distanced from the monarch, while on another vantage point were the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge standing more than two metres apart.

With no spectators, the police presence was more noticeable, with a large number of armed officers on duty.

Missing from the Cenotaph ceremony was the Duke of York, who has stepped down from official royal duties following fierce criticism after his Panorama interview about his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds announced earlier this year that they are set to marry but have not yet set a date for their wedding

Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds announced earlier this year that they are set to marry but have not yet set a date for their wedding

All Chelsea Pensioners need to have served in the Army for at least 12 years or to have been awarded a disablement pension to be granted admission. They also have to be over 65

All Chelsea Pensioners need to have served in the Army for at least 12 years or to have been awarded a disablement pension to be granted admission. They also have to be over 65

Several veterans lined up to meet the Prime Minister and his partner at the solemn occasion on Sunday

Several veterans lined up to meet the Prime Minister and his partner at the solemn occasion on Sunday

The Duke of Sussex was also absent having begun a new life in California after stepping down as a working royal, but he took part in a podcast to highlight the importance of Remembrance Sunday.

Speaking on the Declassified podcast, he said: ‘Being able to wear my uniform, being able to stand up in service of one’s country, these are amongst the greatest honours there are in life.’ 

‘To me, the uniform is a symbol of something much bigger, it’s symbolic of our commitment to protecting our country, as well as protecting our values.

‘These values are put in action through service, and service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos.’

Harry would have stood between his brother William and uncle Edward during the ceremony, and there appeared to be a symbolic space left between the two men for the missing member of their family.

The Queen’s simple message on her wreath said ‘In memory of the glorious dead’, echoing the words on the Cenotaph, while Charles’ handwritten note said ‘In everlasting remembrance’.

The Prime Minister’s handwritten message said: ‘To the eternal memory of those who died to keep us free.’

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also due to have attended the event but did not travel to Whitehall ‘on medical advice’, said a royal source who did not give further details.

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, also said prayers at the service and the national anthem was played.

Mr Johnson and Ms Symmonds’s last appearance together came at the end of last month, when they featured in a television message to praise NHS medics for delivering their baby son and for saving the Prime Minister’s life after he fell seriously ill with coronavirus.

In the message, recorded for the Pride of Britain awards, they thanked frontline workers for their ‘courage and dedication’ during the pandemic.

The couple nominated nurses Jenny McGee and Luis Pitarma, two nurses who cared for Mr Johnson at St Thomas’ Hospital in April, and the maternity team who delivered Wilfred later the same month.  

Ms Symonds sad in the video: ‘You continue to provide care for all of us in the very toughest of times and it’s because of you that not only is Boris still here, but that we are proud parents to our sweet baby boy.

‘As a family we have so much to be thankful to the NHS for and we will never stop being grateful.’

The Prime Minister then added: ‘Exactly right. So I want to pay thanks to the utterly brilliant team at St Thomas’ Hospital who saved my life.

‘There were many of them, but I want to nominate two nurses in particular, Luis and Jenny.’ 

Mr Johnson was treated in intensive care for Covid-19 in the London hospital, before the couple’s first child together was born at University College Hospital weeks later.

Mr Johnson and Ms Symmonds's last appearance together came at the end of last month, when they featured in a television message to praise NHS medics for delivering their baby son and for saving the Prime Minister's life after he fell seriously ill with coronavirus

Mr Johnson and Ms Symmonds’s last appearance together came at the end of last month, when they featured in a television message to praise NHS medics for delivering their baby son and for saving the Prime Minister’s life after he fell seriously ill with coronavirus 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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