Here's why Queen Elizabeth II broke 600-year-old tradition after 9/11 attack
On September 13, 2001, she ordered the Bands of the Household Division to play Star-Spangled Banner during Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Queen Elizabeth II was known for always following rules and traditions despite facing numerous challenges, personally as well as professionally. However, she herself took charge and broke a custom which was hundreds of years old.
In 2001, when the US witnessed one of the most terrible terrorist attacks on September 9, Her Majesty joined the distraught nation in its grief. On September 13, 2001, she demanded the Bands of the Household Division to play the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, during the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
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As per reports, the Changing of the Guard ceremony has always witnessed traditional British songs as well as famous music at the time. National anthems of other nations are only played when foreign dignitaries come to the UK during state visits. But in 2001, the rule was changed after the 9/11 attacks that claimed the lives of thousands. The most number of victims were from the US but 67 British nationals also got killed on the fateful day.
It has been said that the September 13 remarkable event was seen by approximately 5,000 people outside Buckingham Palace as the Coldstream Guards carried out the Changing of the Guard. The Sun reported that “as the band played The Star-Spangled Banner, some in the crowd sang along and many waved American flags while holding back tears. A moment of silence was observed by the crowd before the Queen's son, Prince Andrew, led the troops in a formal salute.”
In addition, the UK also conducted a memorial service for the victims of 9/11 at St Paul's Cathedral in London on September 14 of that year, which was attended by more than 2,600 people. The monarch along with Prince Charles, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the American ambassador to Britain, William Farish were also reportedly among the attendees.
Last year, on the 20th anniversary of the brutal incident, the 96-year-old paid tribute to all those affected by writing to US President Joe Biden. She reportedly said, “As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on 11th September 2001, my thoughts and prayers - and those of my family and the entire nation - remain with the victims, survivors, and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.”
“My visit to the site of the World Trade Center in 2010 is held fast in my memory. It reminds me that as we honor those from many nations, faiths, and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild,” the Queen had added.
Meanwhile, after the Queen’s death, the president and first lady Jill Biden have expressed their respect towards her and condolences to her family. A statement from the pair read, “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era. The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.”
“Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special,” they wrote before adding, “In the years ahead, we look forward to continuing a close friendship with The King and The Queen Consort. Today, the thoughts and prayers of people all across the United States are with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in their grief. We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who are not only mourning their Queen, but their dear mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.”