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Charles to be at D-Day events

Prince Charles will attend the D-Day commemorations however veteran expresses disappointment over the whole affair.

PRINCE Charles will attend the D-Day commemorations on June 6 following an initial snub of the Royal Family by the French government.

Controversy over the commemorations broke out when it was revealed the Queen had initially received no official invitation and the French government proclaimed it was “first and foremost a Franco-American affair”.

Despite the announcement of Prince Charles’ presence, some veterans say they are still disappointed that the Queen will not attend and the way in which the whole affair has been handled.

Veteran Arthur Smith, 84, will be attending the ceremony at Bernières-sur-Mer, where he was one of the first to land driving one of the duck-like ‘amphibi’ trucks just after 9am on June 6, 1944.

He said: “I think the politicians have very different ideas from the ordinary people.

“I suppose I am personally disappointed the Queen will not be there, as I have paraded in front of Prince Charles many times but I have never paraded in front of the Queen.

“He represents Britain so I agree it is some sort of compensation so to speak.

“However the main thing for the likes of myself is the fact that the French public still appreciate the fact we are there to say hello to them and receive their thanks once again.

“We must remember we did not only liberate France, but what we did was for England too.”

The White House is reported to have stepped into the row about why the Queen was not attending on Monday, after Buckingham Palace insisted she had not been invited.

Prince Charles was subsequently invited by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

It is understood he will attend at least one main event alongside US President Barack Obama, Mr Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

They will gather at the Normandy American Cemetery, by Omaha Beach - code name for one of the main landing points of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France during the Second World War.

Photo:Bill Braasch

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