Prince Charles set to meet Vladimir Putin on a beach in Normandy – how awkward could it be?
Prince and Putin still on course to attend D-Day memorial after ‘Hitler’ comment
He may have been likened to Hitler, but Vladimir Putin is still on course to attend the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings to celebrate the allies “fighting together against Nazism” – with the Prince of Wales.
The pair will be attending the same event at Sword Beach in Normandy next month, the site at which British troops landed to stormed Nazi positions at the end of the Second World War.
Despite the attendance of world leaders such as President Obama and Francois Hollande and the presence of 2,000 Allied veterans, for many it will be the Prince and Putin who will warrant the most attention after the Russian President rounded on Prince Charles following his remarks in Nova Scotia last Tuesday.
The Prince was speaking to Marianne Ferguson, 78, who explained that her Jewish family had escaped Nazi-occupied Danzig during WWII, and Prince Charles reportedly told her that “Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler", drawing what has been seen as a parallel between the dictator’s behaviour and Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March.
Russia has strongly criticised the Prince since his comments were revealed, and on Friday the Kremlin-backed Russia Today launched a scathing attack on the Royal Family, claiming that “Russia has asked for an explanation though although I’m not sure why, because if anyone knows real Nazi’s it’s the Royal Family.”
President Putin has since left his own message for the Prince, declaring that the criticism of his actions in Ukraine was “unacceptable” and “not what monarchs do”.
Speaking to reporters in St Petersburg, Putin said the situation “reminds me of a good proverb: ‘You are angry. That means you are wrong’.”
Putin added that he had a personal message for the Prince, declaring: “Give my words to Prince Charles. He has been to our country more than once, if he made such a comparison, it is unacceptable and I am sure he understands that as a man of manners.”
He added: “I met him personally as well as other members of the Royal Family. This is not what monarchs do. But over the past few years we have seen so much, nothing surprises me any longer.”
However, Prince Charles’s comment does not appear to have derailed President Putin’s intention to honour the Allies’ efforts alongside Russia’s next month.
Discussing the upcoming memorial event, President Putin said: “During the Second World War, we were allies and we were fighting together against Nazism. As you know very well, the peoples of the Soviet Union and the people of Russia sacrificed a lot to win the war and achieve our joint victory over Nazism.
“That is why it is quite natural that we are going to have a meeting in Normandy and we are going to pay tribute to our coalition partners, to the British, the American and the French.”
Additional reporting by the Press Association
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