King, Queen and Prince of Wales to mark D-Day anniversary in France and UK

The King and Queen pictured in a pageant on a sunny day. His Majesty wears a military uniform and medals
The King and Queen will travel to Normandy for the 6 June events - Ian Jones

The King, the Queen and the Prince of Wales will mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in both the UK and France next month, Buckingham Palace has said.

The couple will join the Royal British Legion’s commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer on June 6.

Meanwhile, Prince William will attend the Canadian commemorative ceremony at Juno Beach, hosted by the Canadian government, alongside Second World War veterans and armed forces personnel.

He will then attend the international commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer alongside 25 heads of state and veterans from around the world.

The Princess of Wales, who is being treated for cancer, is not expected to travel to France.

On June 5, Their Majesties, accompanied by Prince William, will attend the UK’s national celebration in Portsmouth.

The Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will also attend UK events.

Live BBC event in Normandy

In Normandy, a live event produced by BBC Studios, featuring veterans’ stories and musical performances, will be at the heart of the commemorations, with D-Day veterans and 2,000 guests in attendance.

It will be the first time the British Normandy Memorial, which opened in 2021, has been at the heart of major commemorations.

The memorial carries the names of the 22,442 service personnel under British command who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) will escort just 23 D-Day veterans to France for the ceremony, compared with 255 who travelled to the 75th commemoration in 2019.

A further 21 veterans have registered to attend the charity’s service at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Philippa Rawlinson, RBL director of remembrance, said: “These incredibly moving and poignant commemorations will be our last opportunity to host a significant number of Normandy veterans.

“We invite world leaders and the nation to pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifices they made 80 years ago. The legacy left by Second World War veterans lives on in the freedom and democracy we have today.”

The King, patron of the RBL, is understood to have been determined to attend the event, having recently returned to public duties as he continues his cancer treatment.

The Princess Royal

On June 5 in Normandy, the Princess Royal, Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Regina Rifles, accompanied by her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, will unveil a statue of a Second World War Canadian Royal Regina Rifleman and attend a reception with members of the regiment.

The couple will then join Normandy veterans at the Bayeux War Cemetery for a RBL service of commemoration.

The service will be attended by around 1,000 people, including D-Day veterans, descendants of those who fought, relatives of veterans, and members of the public.

It will focus on veterans’ testimony and will culminate in an act of remembrance and wreath-laying, supported by the British Army Band Catterick.

Veterans will be invited to an earlier tea, where they can share stories at a venue they hold dear to their hearts.

Bayeux War Cemetery

Bayeux has hosted the Normandy veterans for their Remembrance for many years, and the Bayeux War Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth cemetery of the Second World War in France.

Later, the Princess, as president of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will attend an annual service of remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral.

This will be followed by a service and vigil later that evening where she will give a speech in remembrance of those who lost their lives during the operation.

On June 6, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will join veterans and their families at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for the RBL service of remembrance.

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will attend “D-Day 80: Remembering the Normandy Landings”, an evening of music-led, multi-generational storytelling, reflecting on the Second World War at the Royal Albert Hall.