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Prince Harry to visit Folkestone for Step Short commemorations of First World War centenary

By Matt Leclere

Prince Harry will be the Royal guest of honour for the First World War commemorations in Folkestone in August.

Buckingham Palace today announced the Prince will be visiting the town to mark the Step Short event and unveiling of a new memorial on August 4, exactly 100 years after the outbreak of The Great War.

After visiting Folkestone, Harry will travel on to Belgium for a memorial service in Mons where he will join the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince Harry will be the Royal guest of honour for the First World War commemorations in Folkestone

A statement from Buckingham Palace said: "HRH Prince Henry of Wales will attend the 'Step Short' commemorative event in Folkestone.

"HRH will subsequently join The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, for a UK commemorative event."

He will unveil the Step Short Arch which is currently being built on The Leas at the top of The Road of Remembrance where soldiers walked down to the harbour.

The Queen will attend a commemoration service at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral Castle.

The Duke of Edinburgh will attend a service at Sandringham Church.

Prince Charles will attend a national service of commemoration for the Commonwealth in Glasgow, followed by a wreath laying in George Square.

Troops were commanded to Step Short at the top of the Road of Remembrance - for many it was their last time on British soil

Folkestone had been listed as one of the main places outside of London for major commemorative events in the UK.

Millions of soldiers went through Folkestone which was a major port for the Army during the conflict.

For many it was the last time they would step on British soil before heading to the battlefields in France and Belgium.

Organisers from the 'Step Short' charity - named after the command given to troops at the top of the hill - said in October they were hoping a 'Grade A' royal would be attending.

The new arch memorial is just one part of a project by the charity to help educate people on the history of the war in Folkestone and across Kent which has been supported by Kent County Council, Shepway District Council, the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and more than £150,000 in private donations.

Artists impressions of the First World War commemorative arch in Folkestone

An arch was chosen to replace one which used to stand over the top of the Road of Remembrance back in the 1920s.

The announcement came on the day his split with long-term girlfriend Cressida Bonas was revealed.

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