Kate Middleton Visits World War I Poppy Art Installation

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2014 08 07 paul cummins poppies ceremony 02
2014 08 07 paul cummins poppies ceremony 02
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2014 08 07 paul cummins poppies ceremony 02
A nighttime ceremony marked the opening of Paul Cummins and Tom Piper's Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red (2014), an installation at the Tower of London that marks the centennial of Britain's entrance into World War I.
Photo: Paul Brown, courtesy REX.
2014 08 07 paul cummins poppies ceremony 02
A nighttime ceremony marked the opening of Paul Cummins and Tom Piper's Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red (2014), an installation at the Tower of London that marks the centennial of Britain's entrance into World War I.
Photo: Paul Brown, courtesy REX.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were joined by Price Harry at the official unveiling of ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper’s Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London on August 5, reports ABC.

The massive art installation has blanketed the building’s moat with bright red ceramic poppies in commemoration of the centenary of World War I, which the UK first entered on August 5, 1914. According to the Daily Mail, Middleton was overheard describing the artwork as “amazing” and “spectacular” as the young royals made their way through the grounds.

Each member of the trio planted a poppy of their own to add to the installation, which will continue to grow over the course of the summer thanks to the efforts of 8,000 volunteers. The garden will reach its zenith, with a total of 888,246 flowers, symbolizing each and every British soldier killed during World War I, on November 11, or Armistice Day, which marks the anniversary of the war’s end in 1918. Red poppies are traditionally worn by Britons that day each year in honor of dead servicemen and servicewomen.

“The Duchess said what an impact the poppies had and it’s true,” PO cadet James Pavey told the Dail Mail after speaking briefly with Middleton. “When you are told how many people died in the First World War it doesn’t really sink in but when you see the actual number of poppies it really brings it home to you.”

Later that evening, a ceremony was held, with video imagery projected on the Tower. At one point the shadows of British soldiers marching off to war appeared against a blood-red background. Each night of the installation, a ceremonial roll of honor call will read the names of those who died, and a lone bugle player will perform “Last Post.”

The poppies are being sold for £25 ($42) each, with 10 percent of the proceeds to benefit six different charities related to the British armed forces.


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