Kate Middleton paid tribute to her grandmother with a special ‘Codebreakers poppy’ today as she attended the wreath-laying service at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 37, pinned the £29.99 poppy, which was released this year in honour of those who worked in signal intelligence, to her chic military inspired coat for the event.
The ‘Codebreakers’ poppy has special meaning for Kate because her paternal grandmother Valerie Glassborow was among those who worked to decipher the secrets of the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park during the war.
It was the first time the royal has worn the elegant brooch, which was released earlier this year to honour the 13,000 men and women on the Bletchley Park Roll of Honour. The badge has ‘lest we forget’ inscribed in the back.
Kate Middleton, 38, paid tribute to her grandmother Valerie Glassborow with the special Codebreakers poppy
Kate’s grandmother Valerie Glassborow worked as a Codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II
The special Codebreakers brooch costs £29.99 online and was designed by the rotors of the Enigma machines
The Duchess of Cambridge stood on the balcony alongside the Queen to watch Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry lay wreaths to pay respects to its war dead today.
Kate looked chic in military inspired coat and a fascinator hat as she joined other senior members of the royal family for the Remembrance day event.
Completing the look with a touch of blusher and statement brows, she recycled the Queen’s pearl earrings from Saturday night.
She pinned the elegant poppy brooch, which cost £29.99, to her jacket as a nod to her grandmother’s work at Bletchley Park.
The Duchess of Cambridge pinned the elegant brooch to her military style coat for the Remembrance Day Service
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The Duchess of Cambridge attended The Cenotaph, alongside the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, on Remembrance Sunday.
As expected, Kate wore an all-black ensemble, which featured a coat dress by Alexander McQueen. The tailored design incorporated a zip-up front and military-inspired details, creating a smart look that was appropriate for the occasion. She completed her outfit with a netted velvet fascinator and pearl drop earrings from the Queen’s collection.
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The official poppy website revealed the design of the elegant brooch was ‘inspired by the rotors of the Enigma machines, from which Allied cryptologists successfully decrypted a vast number of enemy messages during the Second World War’.
It is called an ‘extraordinary tribute to the work of those in signal intelligence.’
Today marked the first time that Kate has worn the special brooch.
The Duchess made the sweet tribute to her grandmother as she joined the Queen to pay tribute to fallen soldiers on Remembrance Sunday
The official poppy website revealed the design of the special brooch was inspired by the rotors of the Enigma machines, with the back of the poppy inscribed with ‘lest we forget’
Earlier this week, the royal donned the ‘Poppy Collection Women of The First World War Brooch’, which costs £29.99 and was released last year.
Kate has visited Bletchley Park on several occasions over the years as she retraced the footsteps of her paternal grandmother, Valerie Glassborow and her twin sister Mary.
Kate’s grandmother and great aunt worked as duty officers, employed as Foreign Office Civilians in the Cover Management Y section in 1944.
Kate’s codebreaking family history at Bletchley Park
The Duchess of Cambridge’s grandmother Valerie Glassborow and her twin sister Mary were among the codebreakers stationed at the top secret base at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
The crack team, which also included famed British mathematician Alan Turing, of researchers and cryptographers was tasked with intercepting and interpreting enemy communication and breaking the German enigma code.
Enigmas, which resembled large typewriters, were used by German air, naval and army forces to safely send messages throughout the Second World War.
It used a complex series of rotors and lights to encrypt messages by swapping letters around via an ever-changing ‘enigma code’. The code was eventually broken in 1941 by mathematicians at Bletchley – a feat that proved a crucial turning point in the war.
Valerie Glassborow and her twin sister Mary worked in Hut 16 at Bletchley Park. She later married Peter Francis Middleton (pictured on their wedding day) and had four sons, Michael, Richard, Simon and Nicholas. Michael is the father of the Duchess of Cambridge
Two women work in hut 6 at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, during the Second World War. Cryptographers deciphered top-secret military communiques between Hitler and his armed forces, which ultimately aided the victory of the Allied forces
Then a young, unmarried woman, Valerie Glassborow worked in Hut 16 on the estate, which is no longer standing.
Many of her colleagues were ‘ordinary’ middle-class women like herself, whose work, kept secret for almost half a century, helped change the course of the war.
However very few went on to pursue a career in intelligence. Indeed of the 9,000 people who worked at Bletchley Park during World War II, just 600 women went on to join the fledgling GCHQ or other branches of the secret services.
Among those to leave the service for a life of domesticity was Miss Glassborow, who married Peter Francis Middleton in 1946 in the village of Adel, Yorkshire.
The couple went on to have four sons, Michael, Richard, Simon and Nicholas in quick succession.
Michael, the eldest, is the father of the Duchess of Cambridge and is known to have been close to his mother.
Miss Glassborow died in 2006, without ever speaking publicly of her wartime service.
A black and white photo offering a look inside one of the huts on the Buckinghamshire estate. Among the roughly 9,000-strong workforce was Valerie Glassborow, the paternal grandmother of the Duchess of Cambridge
They are known to have been formally employed by the ‘Government Code and Cypher School’ at Bletchley and worked in Hut 16, now restored as Hut 6 and open to the public.
On her visit earlier this year, Kate revealed her grandmother didn’t feel comfortable talking about her experiences, saying: ‘My granny and her sister worked here. It’s very cool. When she was alive sadly she could never talk about it.
‘She was so sworn to secrecy that she never felt able to tell us.’
Earlier this year the Duchess visited Bletchley Park, where she looked at bricks dedicated to her grandmother Valerie Glassborow