Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Queen Elizabeth II violated a 600-year-old royal custom. The Queen instructed her royal guards to play the American national anthem for the first time for stranded Americans in London as a show of support. Following the attacks, about 5000 Americans gathered outside Buckingham Palace to grieve together.
After the Coldstream Guard performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a two-minute silence was held, with many in the crowd joining in to sing. Prince Andrew then saluted the soldiers, leading them in a ceremonial salute.
“Standing firmly to attention in the Palace courtyard in front of the soldiers from the Coldstream Guards and the 1st Bn, the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, the Duke of York, representing the Queen, took the traditional salute,” the Daily Telegraph reported at the time.
William Farish, the American ambassador to the United Kingdom, stood behind him, his hand on his heart.
“The band then performed a set of somber American music, including John Williams’ ‘Hymn for the Fallen,’ which was used in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’s end credits.”
Later that week,,the Queen attended a memorial service in London for the terror attack victim and she was seen sobbing as she left St Paul’s Cathedral.