Prince Charles placed a wreath at the base of the Cenotaph during the annual Remembrance Sunday service in London. (Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Prince Charles placed a wreath at the base of the Cenotaph during the annual Remembrance Sunday service in London. (Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

In a significant step in the British monarchy’s transition, Queen Elizabeth II watched from a balcony in central London on Sunday as her eldest son, Prince Charles, placed a wreath at the Cenotaph, Britain’s memorial to its war dead.

The chimes of Big Ben, which had been silent for a lengthy restoration project, tolled during the event, the second time in two days, before the nation observed two minutes of silence. The bell also rang on Saturday to mark Armistice Day.

Often praised for being rigorous about her royal obligations, the queen, 91, delegated the Remembrance Sunday duty to Charles, 68, the next in line to the British throne. Buckingham Palace announced the change last month, a move seen by royals observers as a major step in the shift to the monarchy’s next generation.

The queen watched the ceremony unfold from a nearby Foreign and Commonwealth Office balcony in Whitehall on a chilly morning, flanked by her husband, Prince Philip, and Charles’s wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Prime Minister Theresa May and the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, were among the officials in attendance.

Elizabeth is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, having been crowned in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

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SOURCE: SUSANNE FOWLER 
The New York Times