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Why the Royal Family Wears Red Poppy Pins — and What It Signifies

People logo People 4/25/2018 Erin Hill
Meghan Markle wearing a hat © Toby Melville /WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan Markle attended her first Anzac Day service on Wednesday alongside fiancé Prince Harry. Anzac Day commemorates the first major battle involving Australian and New Zealand forces during World War One. It has been honored in London since the first anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli in 1916, when King George V attended a service at Westminster Abbey.

The future royal wore a Smythe grey coat and (shop a similar look here) and bespoke Emilia Wickstead black two-piece crepe skirt suit for the somber occasion. She also had on a special accessory — a poppy pin.

The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military members who have died in war.

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The poppy symbol is believed to have come from the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, a poem about World War I. The opening stanza reads:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The royal family proudly wears their pins when they honor armed forces who sacrificed their lives.

Prince Harry wearing a suit and tie © Tolga Akmen/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The tradition of wearing a poppy has been adopted across the U.K. and in Canada. It is especially poignant on Armistice Day on Nov. 11, which is observed in Europe and in the countries of the Commonwealth to remember the sacrifices of military members.

a group of people posing for the camera © Victoria Jones/PA

The poppy is worn on the left to symbolize that those who died are close to your heart, according to the BBC. It’s also where military medals are worn.

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie © Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

According to the Royal British Legion, who produces poppies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, “There is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy. It is a matter of personal choice whether an individual chooses to wear a poppy and also how they choose to wear it. The best way to wear a poppy is to wear it with pride.”

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