The man who led the Brexit fight to victory and currently hosts a GB News talk show blasted King Charles III for wearing the so-called “Black Rose Poppy” as the United Kingdom approaches another Remembrance Day, 105 years after the guns went silent at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
“I doubt many of the other media organizations will even pay attention to it,” said Nigel Farage on his “Farage” GB News program. “Perhaps some won’t even notice it, but if they do, then the king has made an absolutely terrible mistake.”
Today King Charles III wore a @Blackpoppyrose to honour the legacy of the contributions made by the African, Black, West Indian, Pacific Islands, and Indigenous Nation to Global Wars, inclusive of World War I and II during Remembrance Month.@TheTelegraph__#wewillremember pic.twitter.com/XxMkPIHuMp
— BlackPoppyRose (@Blackpoppyrose) November 8, 2023
The former UKIP leader said it could be the case that palace courtiers have misinformed His Majesty that the black flower is a legitimate token of respect for fallen minority servicemembers.
Charles wore the “We Remember” Black Rose Poppy lapel pin, which sells for five pounds, along with the traditional red poppy pin.
“More likely, far more likely, he’s been told to wear that because that’ll show that you’re sympathetic to all of the ethnic minorities and their families in the past who fought in the wars,” Farage said.
“Whoever advised the king to wear that black poppy should be sacked from Buckingham Palace and out of their job by tomorrow morning,” he said. “It is a terrible thing to get the monarch to do.”
The presenter said there is a public meaning and a private message to choosing to wear the black flower instead of the traditional red one.
“What’s it all about? Well, on the face of it, it’s to honor black servicemen who were killed serving in the wars, who some people believe are underrepresented,” he said.
Selena Carty created the Black Rose Poppy in 2010 to commemorate combatants fighting against the British and, in effect, killing British soldiers honored by the red poppy, he said. “It represents black people who fought against the British in a variety of wars, and it also represents a demand for reparations.”
According to the Black Rose Poppy website, in addition to honoring black and other minority veterans of the British imperium, the black poppy honors those who killed British soldiers and settlers in the Anglo-Ashanti Wars in West Africa, the Black War and the Maori Wars in Australia and the Maroon Wars in Jamaica.
The poppy tradition started after the Great War
Poppies became a mark of remembering the dead during World War I after Canadian Army physician Lt. Col. John McCrea’s poem “In Flanders Field,” written upon the death of a young Lt. Alexis Helmer, whom McCrea had bonded with over their alma mater McGill University.
McCrea was alone sitting on the rear bumper of an ambulance, and the doctor contemplated the meaningless of Helmer’s death, along with all the others, as he noticed that at the makeshift cemetery, wild poppies had already sprung up like the weeds they were.
The poem opens with the immortal couplet:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
The effect on the Western allies was universal and immediate. In the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, the poppy was adopted as the symbol of remembering the war dead, which was in an era when war dead were still buried where they fell so that families never had the closure provided by the remains of their loved ones returning home.
The Black Rose Poppy movement is a direct competitor to the charity created to produce the poppies, support disabled veterans, and provide jobs to soldiers struggling after their discharge.
In 1922, Maj. George Howson, a Military Cross recipient, founded The Poppy Factory when he heard that the British Legion needed nine million silk poppies for its campaign to raise money for the war-injured—he started the annual tradition of wearing the poppy pins that has been sustained in Great Britain, but fallen away in the United States.
Queen Camilla, who has been the patroness of The Poppy Factory since 2013, participated in another tradition begun by The Poppy Factory when she planted a Cross of Remembrance Nov. 9 in the Field of Remembrance.
The Field of Remembrance is a plot on the grounds of Westminster Abbey, the hall where Parliament meets, and it has been a sacred space for private and public commemorations since November 1928.
Farage said the poppy, like other remembrances of the fallen, such as London’s Cenotaph memorial — site of relentless pro-Hamas rallies and vandalism since the Oct. 7 attacks on the Jewish State — reminds us that there is a unity and equality in giving one’s life for one’s country.
Carty has said she created the Black Rose Poppy to empower self-identity within African, Black, West Indian, Caribbean, Pacific Islands, and Indigenous Nations communities — a rebuke to the assimilating into the British nation and culture.
Farage said Carty is missing the mark.
“The whole point of wearing the poppy, the whole point of the Cenotaph, is that it’s not about class or race or rank or what medals you won,” he said.
“It treats everybody absolutely the same, and that’s the way that it simply has to stay.”