Royals and world leaders join veterans in Normandy for 80th anniversary of D-Day

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, along with 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 on Thursday.

Their visit comes after an emotional ceremony in Portsmouth on Wednesday where the King appeared to wipe away a tear during an event where he paid tribute to the “courage, resilience and solidarity” of veterans.

Meanwhile, 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, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer.

The day will begin early with a piper on the beach at Arromanches helping to mark the biggest seaborne invasion in military history, before commemorations continue in the French town including a veterans parade, air and firework display.

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.

(PA Graphics)

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, while a beacon-lighting ceremony will take place in Aylesford, Kent.

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.

The event, D-day 80: Remembering The Normandy Landings, will be hosted by Davina McCall and feature music from the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, as well as Lulu, Katherine Jenkins, Emeli Sande and D-day Darlings lead vocalist Katie Ashby.

The weather is expected to be “generally dry” during the commemorations, the Met Office said.

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “It’ll be pretty dry on either side of the channel.

“It shouldn’t hamper any commemorations during the day.

“It’ll be better weather compared to what they had then [in 1944]. Less windy and probably a bit brighter.”