Prince Charles to attend D-Day anniversary

The Prince of Wales will attend the 65th commemorations of the D-Day landings in France, it was reported today.

Neither the Queen nor any other member of the royal family had been invited to join the official events in Normandy on Saturday.

But following calls for them to attend and reports of the Queen being snubbed, the Daily Telegraph reported on its website that heir to the throne Charles will now represent the Queen at the D-Day anniversary.



Clarence House confirmed that Charles would now attend and had been invited by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

A Clarence House spokesman said: "The Prince of Wales will be attending the commemorations on D-Day in Normandy on the invitation of President Sarkozy."

It is believed that the turnaround came after Charles himself spoke to the Queen, saying he believed it was appropriate he should attend.

An official invitation was received today from the French Ambassador.

Royal aides held talks with Downing Street today to discuss the matter.

The decision came as the White House revealed it was lobbying to get the Queen an invite to the commemorations.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that pressure was being put on the French to rectify the situation.

"We are working with those involved to see that it happens," he said in reference to the Queen's attendance.



Charles will attend the main commemoration with US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He may also attend other events in Normandy, but no details have been released so far.

It is not yet known whether he will be accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall.

The absence of the Queen from the guest list was perceived by some as a deliberate snub by the French authorities.

Some commentators suggested that Mr Sarkozy was primarily interested in hosting the visiting President Obama.

Charles is said to be on good terms with Mr Sarkozy, with the relationship enabling him to set the wheels in motion to attend.

Buckingham Palace previously said that no members of the Royal Family would be attending.

A spokeswoman said: "Neither the Queen nor any other members of the Royal Family will be attending the D-Day commemorations on June 6 as we have not received an official invitation to any of these events.

"We would like to reiterate that we have never expressed any sense of anger or frustration at all, and are content with all the arrangements that are planned."

Officials in Paris insisted that the Queen was welcome. They blamed the UK Government for deciding who should attend what they said was "primarily a Franco-American ceremony".

The June 6 1944 Normandy landings saw thousands of Allied troops pour on to the beaches of occupied France and marked a strategic turning point in the war against Germany.

For the 60th anniversary of the invasion in 2004, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales all attended commemoration events in France.



The Royal British Legion said it was "absolutely delighted" that the Prince would be attending.

"This day is about the veterans and as many people that can be there to show their thanks the better," a spokeswoman for the Legion said.

"(The veterans) are such heroes and we have so much to thank them for. We're absolutely delighted."



Eddie Slater, national chairman of the Normandy Veterans Association, said the decision had come too late and branded the situation a "circus".

Veterans' plans and itineraries had already been put in place months in advance, he added.

Mr Slater said: "It's totally unfair that this decision has been made at this time.

"If we had been told months ago we would have rejoiced but it's poor judgment on somebody's part.

"This has been made into a political matter. It's not a pilgrimage now. All the focus will be on the politicians, not the veterans. It's too late."

He added: "We go across for a pilgrimage. It's been turned into a circus."

Mr Slater, 85, from Colchester, Essex, was 20 when he was on board the frigate HMS Thornborough at Sword Beach for the D-Day landings.

He recalled: "The whole ship was silent even though the engines were going full blast. Nobody spoke for minutes.

"The sight was awe inspiring. The whole horizon was filled with ships of all shapes and sizes. It was unbelievable."

He expressed regret that the Queen would not be there on Saturday.

"It's important. She is the only world head of state who actually served in the war, in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service)."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links