Prince Charles Agrees To Attend D-Day Anniversary
Tuesday, 02 June 2009

Britain's Prince Charles will attend a ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings after French officials failed to invite Queen Elizabeth, causing a brief diplomatic spat.

A spokeswoman for Charles confirmed he would attend the June 6 commemoration as a guest of President Nicolas Sarkozy. US President Barack Obama will also attend the anniversary.

"Prince Charles contacted the queen and said it might be a good idea if someone from the royal family went along and he proposed himself," a spokeswoman said.

"He has received an invitation from President Sarkozy and will most definitely be attending."

The ceremony in northern France commemorates the 1944 invasion by American, British and Commonwealth troops that broke Germany's hold on France during World War Two.

The event is traditionally attended by Queen Elizabeth -- she went to both the 50th and the 60th commemorations -- but this year France failed to invite the monarch.

Last week, France denied it had snubbed her, saying the ceremony was a Franco-American affair and there was no particular protocol that required the queen to be invited.

The perceived snub offended some commentators in Britain, with the royalist, right-of-centre Daily Mail newspaper villifying France and Sarkozy for the move.

While the queen was not invited, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown received an invitation from Sarkozy in March and is planning to attend, his spokesman said.

Some 73,000 US troops and 83,000 British, Canadian and Commonwealth forces landed in France on June 6, 1944 in the largest amphibious attack in history. The assault led to the liberation of Nazi-occupied France and the war ended a year later.

The main event at the anniversary takes place in a US war cemetery, land which is officially owned by the United States.

A French official last week pointed to that fact as a reason why it was not up to Paris to invite the queen to the anniversary but Washington.

French media have reported that Sarkozy pushed to get Obama to attend the commemoration after failing to persuade him to visit Paris after a NATO sumit in eastern France in April.


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