Monday, November 09, 2009

Question: Charles and Camilla's poppies

I have noticed in many pictures of Charles and Camilla that they are both wearing two poppies. Is this a royal thing? Does it mean something special?

Since Charles and Camilla first arrived in Canada on most public appearances they have worn two poppies. This has been the subject of a great deal of curiosity. Why the two poppies? What does it mean?

The two poppies that the couple are wearing are the British paper version and the Canadian one. The design of the Canadian poppy consists of petals made of red plastic with a felt lining and black centre held on by a pin. The British paper version is sold by the Royal British Legion through their annual Poppy Appeal. Some have suggested that by wearing the two poppies they are making a symbolic gesture of support for British and Canadian veterans.

Poppies became a symbol of Rememberance after the poem In Flanders Field commemorated the flower. It was written in 1915 by a Canadian doctor named John McCrae after he witnessed the death of a friend. During the funeral McCrae noticed wild poppies blooming between the graves and this inspired his famous poem. After its publication it became the most popular poem of the First World War. In part because of its popularity, the poppy was adopted as the Flower of Remembrance for the war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.

© Marilyn Braun 2009

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