The Queen led the nation in two minutes' silence yesterday in honour of the heroic war dead on Remembrance Sunday.
More than 8,000 veterans made the annual pilgrimage to pay tribute to their fallen comrades at the pale stone Cenotaph on London's Whitehall.
Many of them - some frail and depending on wheelchairs or walking sticks - joined the traditional march-past after waiting in line on the cold November morning.
On the first stoke of 11 by Big Ben, those gathered fell silent to remember service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country in past and present conflicts.
At that moment, the sun broke through, shining brightly on the Cenotaph and the civic and military leaders who were gathered solemnly around it.
Afterwards, following the firing of a cannon and the sounding of the Last Post, the Queen, who was dressed in black, began the wreathlaying, placing a ring of poppies against the monument.
She was followed by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, The Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent, all wearing military uniform.
The Duchess of Cornwall watched her husband from the balcony of the Foreign Office with Prince William.
It is the first time Camilla has attended the National Commemoration.
New Army recruit William paid his respects as he prepares to begin his own stint in the military next year.
His 21-year-old brother, Prince Harry, marked the occasion at Sandhurst.
Wreaths were also placed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Conservative leader Michael Howard, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, Democratic Unionist leader the Rev Ian Paisley, and other political and diplomatic representatives.
Camilla and William, who were joined on the balcony by Rear Admiral Timothy Laurence, delivered an enthusiastic rendition of God Save the Queen as the National Anthem was played by the military band at the end of the service.
Prayers were said by the Bishop of London and the hymn O God Our Help in Ages Past was sung.
As the large royal contingent on Whitehall moved inside, the Prince of Wales went to take his place on Horse Guards ready to perform the march past salute.
Rows and rows of the 8,000 veterans in their array of military dress, hats and berets, who had stood throughout the service, began to file past the Cenotaph.
The crowd erupted into an almost continuous round of applause as a mark of respect, growing louder for the oldest of the veterans being pushed in wheelchairs or using motorised buggies.
The march was led by the Royal British Legion's Board of Trustees, followed by The Burma Star Association.
From veterans of Korea and the Ghurkhas to the scarletcoated Chelsea Pensioners, the former servicemen strode past, arms swinging in time to the music and medals glinting on their chests.
Standing out were the women from the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in their cream macs and brown berets, and the Bevin Boys in their white miners-style hats.
The Shot at Dawn Pardons campaign, which wants pardons for those shot for desertion, also sent representatives.
And a silent message of remembrance was passed down the River Thames using semaphore at 16 signalling posts including the Cutty Sark, HMS Belfast and HMS St Vincent.