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Queen visits Tower of London poppy garden

Queen and Duke at Tower of London Image copyright European photopress agency

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have paid tribute to World War One personnel at a Tower of London art installation featuring thousands of ceramic poppies.

The Queen laid a wreath at the Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red exhibit, where each poppy commemorates a fallen WW1 serviceman.

By 11 November - Armistice Day - there will be 888,246 ceramic poppies, one for each British and colonial death.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited in August.

Hundreds of spectators lined the perimeter of the tower's moat during the royal visit.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Many of the flowers have been installed in the former moat of the Tower of London

Stage designer Tom Piper, who helped create the poppy installation, said the Queen described the artwork as "impressive".

He said: "She was very keen to know the numbers involved. It's captured the imagination of the whole nation so I think it's wonderful we've had the Queen at one end and also completely ordinary people at the other coming.

"It's got completely across society."

A team of 8,000 volunteers installed the sea of red flowers, which will be removed on 12 November when the installation closes.

The Tower of London was where more than 1,600 men swore an oath to the Crown after enlisting for the war.

It was also used as a military depot, ceremonial setting-off point for regiments stationed there and the execution location for 11 German spies.

Artist Paul Cummins, who met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh during their visit, said he had been inspired after reading a soldier's will.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Queen touched a wreath held by a Yeomen Warder before it was laid in the poppy field

He said: "I approached the tower as the ideal setting as its strong military links seemed to resonate.

"The installation is transient, I found this poignant and reflective of human life, like those who lost their lives during the World War One.

"I wanted to find a fitting way to remember them."

Later the royal couple were driven into the Tower complex, where they attended a private service of thanksgiving to mark a project to restore and conserve the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.

Discover more about the World War One Centenary.

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