If you're British, then you're very familiar with why we often see the royal family rocking red poppy brooches in November. If you're not, then we're here to explain what's up with the beautiful — and meaningful — accessory, which pregnant Kate Middleton was most recently seen wearing with a burgundy dress at the Place2Be School Leaders Forum at UBS London on Nov. 8.
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Wearing poppies or poppy accessories on Remembrance Day has been a British tradition for over a century now. The holiday, now sometimes called Poppy Day, honors the members of the Royal British Legion who have died in the line of duty in World War I or II.
During WWI, much of Western Europe was left desolated. However, vast fields of poppies still managed to thrive, and in 1915, a man named Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by this and wrote a poem about a lost friend called "In Flanders Fields." According to the British Legion, the poem inspired "an American academic, Moina Michael, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England by a French woman, Anna Guérin." The British Legion sold these silk flowers as a fundraiser, and "raised over £106,000; a considerable amount of money at the time. This was used to help WWI veterans with employment and housing." The flowers now come in the form of brooches, pins, and other accessories.
The poppy is one of the most symbolic flowers in history, often being linked to death, remembrance, rest, consolation, and love.
Poppy brooches are available throughout Europe at many shops and retailers including Swarovski and Amazon, but the royals get theirs from the Royal British Legion, which uses the proceeds to help support veterans and their families.
Many people simply pin a real poppy flower to their lapel, but you can also make one from silk petals and leaves if you're crafty.
Scroll through the gallery to see photos of the British royal family wearing their poppy brooches through the years.