Her Majesty lights a beacon as a weekend of celebrations gets underway
Photo: AFP
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Prince Charles, in his Naval uniform, arrives with his wife Camilla
Photo: AFP

24 OCTOBER 2005

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Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were joined by thousands of proud citizens at the weekend when they paid tribute to one of Britain's greatest military heroes. A huge throng gathered at St Paul's Cathedral on Sunday afternoon for the ceremony honouring Lord Nelson on the 200th anniversary of his death.

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The memorial was just one of 6,000 events staged all around Britain to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar. The festivities began on Friday evening when the Queen lit a gas-fired beacon beside the Naval hero's flagship, HMS Victory, in Portsmouth.

The ceremony came 200 years after Admiral Nelson was shot down by a French sniper at the height of the epic battle. He was one of 5,000 sailors who lost their lives as the British flotilla of 27 ships laid siege to the combined French and Spanish fleet of 34 vessels. Nelson's victory, which proved the deathblow to Napoleon Bonaparte's empire, marked both the peak and the end of his glorious Naval career.

And the bicentenary celebrations came to a fittingly spectacular end on Sunday night with a jaw-dropping light show in Trafalgar Square. Prince Philip looked on as a huge portrait of the Admiral was projected onto a giant screen in the shape of a sail. Nelson's Column was meanwhile illuminated with the colours of the flag as an array of floodlights lit up the sky over London.

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