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
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all