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British royals to attend Afghanistan war service

27 February 2015
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The Queen will lead the British royals at a service marking the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the British monarch, who is head of the armed forces, and the Duke of Edinburgh will pay tribute to those who served during the conflict at St Paul's Cathedral in London on Friday 13 March. Prince Charles will attend the service with his wife the Duchess of Cornwall and sons Prince William and Prince Harry. The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, who will be around eight months pregnant, is also expected.

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Britain's monarch is head of the armed forces

Prince Andrew, his younger brother Prince Edward and his wife Sophie and the Queen's cousin the Duke of Gloucester will complete the party of British royals. Representing Britain's political parties will be the Prime Minister David Cameron, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Michael Fallon, who is the Secretary of State for Defence. The service itself will honour members of the armed forces past and present who served in Afghanistan, as well as the various operational staff who were based in the UK during the 13-year war.

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Left to right: Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge

Later in the day receptions for those who attended the service and who took part in the parade will be held at Guildhall and Wellington Barracks, the latter of which will be attended by members of the royal family. Of the royal family, the service will no doubt hold particular significance for Prince Harry who undertook two tours of Afghanistan, one in 2007-2008 and another in 2012-2013.

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex

Harry, who made a surprise visit to the country for Remembrance Day in November, spoke about his experience of the war in a column for the Sunday Times in August 2014. "I had never seen it first-hand," he wrote. "By 'it' I mean the injuries that were being sustained largely due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). "Loss of life is as tragic and devastating as it gets, but to see young lads – much younger than me... missing limbs... was something I never prepared myself for."

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