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Royals and world leaders join veterans in Normandy to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day | World News

Royalty and world leaders will gather with veterans in Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The King and Queen will pay tribute to fallen soldiers at the UK’s national commemoration event at the British Normandy Memorial, in Ver-sur-Mer.

They will be joined by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The site, which opened in 2021, pays tribute to 22,442 service personnel under British command who died on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.

This will be the first major anniversary event hosted at the memorial, and Charles and Camilla will officially open the Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning following the commemorations.

Meanwhile, Prince William will attend the Canadian commemorative event at the Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-Mer, before joining more than 25 heads of state and veterans for the official international ceremony on Omaha Beach.

The day will begin early with a piper on the beach at Arromanches helping to mark the moment the biggest seaborne invasion in military history got under way.

Bayeux War Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth cemetery of the Second World War in France, will host a service led by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Read more on D-Day:
Are the sacrifices made by Allied troops being forgotten?
Legacy of the Mad Piper who played bagpipes on D-Day beaches

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Candle-lit vigil in Bayeux marks D-Day anniversary

In the UK, an 80-strong flotilla of boats will leave from Falmouth, Cornwall, where thousands of troops departed to take part in the invasion.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will join veterans at a Royal British Legion remembrance service at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will meet veterans at a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

It will be the second day the general election campaign has been being largely put on hold as the prime minister, Labour leader and other political figures are taking part in the commemorations.

Also in Normandy will be US President Joe Biden, who is on a state visit to France, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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On Wednesday the Prince of Wales spoke to veterans and gave a reading at a D-Day event in Portsmouth.

He told one veteran who asked how his wife was that Kate would have “loved” to have attended 80th anniversary events.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla in the Royal Box at the UK's national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, hosted by the Ministry of Defence on Southsea Common in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Dylan Martinez/PA Wire
King Charles and an emotional Queen Camilla in the Royal Box at the UK’s national commemorative event . Pic: PA

The King also addressed the crowd and paid tribute to the “courage, resilience and solidarity” of those involved in the historic invasion of Normandy – a pivotal moment in defeating the Nazis.

At one point, the Queen was pictured in tears as Royal Navy veteran Eric Bateman recalled the horrors of the day.

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After the event in Portsmouth, tributes moved to the beaches of Normandy, where hundreds of allied defence personnel parachuted into a historic D-Day drop zone to commemorate the airborne invasion of 80 years ago.

Princess Anne unveiled a statue of a rifleman storming the beaches and hailed the “loyalty, bravery and duty” of Canadian forces.

Later on Wednesday evening a candle-lit vigil was held at Bayeux War Cemetery following the annual D-Day service of thanksgiving at Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy, and at Pegasus Bridge, a champagne toast was held shortly before 11pm, carrying on a tradition which has occurred since 1944, as fireworks were launched into the air overhead.

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