The Queen is in Belgium today to pay her respects to Allied (British Empire and French) soldiers who were killed at the Battle of Passchendaele 90 years ago. She will also meet with mebers of the Belgian Royal Family.

Queen pays her respects to the fallen of Passchendaele

12th July 2007
Daily Mail

The Queen is paying her respects to Allied soldiers killed in a First World War battle during an official visit to Belgium today.

A quarter of a million troops were either killed, injured or missing in the battle fought among water-filled shell holes and in a sea of mud near the village of Passchendaele.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will join Defence Secretary Des Browne for the commemoration service marking the 90th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest engagements of the 1914-18 conflict.

The Queen and Prince Phillip attend the services in Belgium today

The Queen and Duke left London on the Eurostar service to Brussels yesterday for the official visit, which will last just a day.

The remembrance service will be held at Tyne Cot cemetery, the world's largest Commonwealth war grave near the town of Ypres - today known as Ieper - where almost 11,000 servicemen are buried.

Peter Cleminson, national chairman of the Royal British Legion, who will be at the event, said: "The battle of Passchendaele truly did represent a valley of suffering, and its human toll is staggering.

"Waged for 100 days in atrocious conditions some 250,000 British troops were killed, injured or missing.

The Queen is in Belgium only for the day as she pays her respects to those who gave their lives at Passchendaele

"The scale of loss can only be appreciated on visiting cemeteries like Tyne Cot. The Legion will stand with Her Majesty the Queen and our Belgian counterparts to reflect upon this sacrifice, which will be rendered ever more poignant by the continuing presence of conflict in the world today."

The Queen last visited Belgium in 1998 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Armistice at the end of the First World War.

During her visit she will also lay a wreath and attend a special last post ceremony at the Menin Gate, which bears the names of more than 54,000 British troops who lost their lives in fighting around Ieper.

The Defence Secretary and top military officials from the UK will attend a separate ceremony at the gate later.

The Queen and Duke will be accompanied during their visit by Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe and his wife Princess Mathilde.

The royal party will visit GlaxoSmithKline's new biological headquarters, touring the facilities and meeting staff, then have a private Lunch at the Royal Castle of Laeken hosted by the Belgian sovereign King Albert.