National Day: Belgians march in London too


The Belgian parade is held annually at the Cenotaph in London on the Saturday before 21 July, Belgium's National Day. This privilege is granted only to the Kingdom of Belgium among non-Commonwealth countries!

On 17 February 1934, King of the Belgians Albert I lost his life climbing the rocks at Marche-Les-Dames. Moved by the death of his nephew, King George V of Great Britain decreed a privilege for the Belgians that no other country has ever received, in the form of an annual parade with uniforms and arms at the Cenotaph in London's Whitehall, in tribute to and recognition of the Belgian people.

This Belgian parade in London takes place annually on the Saturday before the Belgian National Day, in memory of the Knight King, the Belgian troops in World War I and the fraternity between British and Belgian soldiers on the Yser front.

Since 1934, the Association of Belgian Veterans in Great Britain has organised the moving ceremony at the Cenotaph (a cenotaph is a monument erected to the memory of all those who have died for their homeland, anywhere in the world. The word comes from Greek and means "empty tomb"), later joined by World War II veterans. With the number of veterans dwindling over time, a Belgian support committee was set up under the impetus of several patriotic fraternities.

Once again this year, 300 Belgian servicemen and women, as well as several British groups and a good number of veterans, marched in London to remind us of the significant contribution that all the English and Belgians, men and women, young and old, have made for our freedom.