Poppy and Remembrance Etiquette

Poppy Etiquette

1.     How to wear a poppy

There is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy. It is a matter of personal choice whether an individual chooses to wear a poppy and also how they choose to wear it. There is no right or wrong lapel, no right or wrong leaf position, no right or wrong time of day. The best way to wear a poppy is to wear it with pride.  

2.     When to wear a poppy

Traditionally, the Poppy Appeal runs for the two weeks leading up to Armistice Day or Remembrance Sunday, whichever is later.

3.     Freedom to wear a poppy

We take the view that the poppy represents the sacrifices and contributions our Armed Forces community have made in the defence of freedom; and so the decision to wear it must be a matter of personal choice. If the poppy became compulsory it would lose its meaning and significance. The Legion will always defend the rights of individuals who choose not to wear a poppy, and we oppose those who attempt to coerce or criticise people who make this personal choice.

We are thankful for every poppy worn, every shop that allows poppy collections, and every employer that permits the poppy to be displayed - but we never insist upon these things. To do otherwise would be contrary to the spirit of Remembrance and all that the poppy stands for.

4.     Two Minute Silence

The Two Minute Silence is a rare moment when the nation can stand together and reflect upon the cost of conflict.

We want people of all ages to understand the importance of remembering those from the British Armed Forces who have made sacrifices defending the freedoms we enjoy.

Around three-quarters of the population from all walks of life now observe the Two Minute Silence annually at 1100hrs on Armistice Day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

We understand that people lead busy lives and may decide not to / are unable to observe the Silence, but we do ask that those who pause to remember are respected.


White / Purple / Black Rose Poppies

Remembrance is neutral on both the causes and consequences of individual conflicts and is above partisan and political interpretation. The Legion’s red poppy is a universal symbol of Remembrance and hope, including hope for a positive future and a peaceful world. Importantly, the red poppy raises funds to support our Armed Forces, veterans and their families in their time of need.

The Legion’s red poppy honours all those who have served or fallen in Service to the Crown including Commonwealth forces regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. The red poppy is inclusive of all who wish to wear it, is non-political and does not depict support for war.

The Legion will take every step to defend the poppy from misappropriation by political, partisan, extremist or commercial interests, including legal action if necessary.

Political / Religious groups laying wreaths

Remembrance ceremonies and services on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day honour the memory of Servicemen and women, past and present and mark the cost of conflict.

Many political, religious and cultural groups choose to distinguish or personalise their wreaths when placing them at war memorials to identify their act of Remembrance. Wreaths are available through the Legion’s website for anyone wishing to take part in an act of commemoration for the sacrifices of our Armed Forces past and present.

We welcome all such groups to lay wreaths in Remembrance following the official ceremony or service.

Inappropriate use of a poppy

The Poppy Appeal is a time for Remembrance, and not for political protests or public disorder.

The Legion will always undertake to ensure an appropriate and inclusive atmosphere is maintained at Remembrance functions.

Remembrance Symbols for various faiths

People of many and no faiths serve or have served in the British Armed Forces and as a result The Royal British Legion offers a number of options for those wishing to make a dedication in one of our Fields of Remembrance.

These dedications can take the form of a Christian Cross, the Jewish Star of David, the Muslim Crescent, the Sikh Khanda and also a non-denominational stake.

Donation from a political party:

The Royal British Legion is strictly non-political. For over 96 years, we have stood above party politics. We do not accept donations from political parties or partisan groups.

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