Today marked the 70th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy during World War II – D-Day. The historic date holds so many memories of loss, triumph, power and success during a war that terrorized the world. On this momentous day, seven decades later, many heads of state and political officials gathered to commemorate the events and pay respect to veterans, fallen soldiers, and today’s servicemen.
The British Royal Family scheduled dozens of events in France for the events. Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, along with Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, began their visit in France yesterday. Today, William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in Arromanches to carry out two public engagements.
Earlier in the day, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, and Their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall attended numerous commemorative events, including a service at Sword Beach attended by all the major Heads of State and World Leaders. It was an incredibly moving morning of remembrance and reflection.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Arromanches, a small town 20 miles west of Sword Beach, shortly after 5PM local time. Arromanches became an extremely important area during the Normandy invasions, acting as a temporary, artificial harbor used to unload heavy equipment. The Duke and Duchess visited the area to meet with veterans, celebrate their amazing triumph, and pay respect to the fallen soldiers.
The first event of the day was, most charmingly, a tea party. The tea party was held in honor of the veterans who attended, giving the Duke and Duchess a chance to thank them for their services on an official level. William and Catherine were greeted upon arrival by children bearing posies and smiles before enjoying tea al fresco.
The Duchess of Cambridge was seated next to a former British soldier and they had a great chance to chat. He had many stories to tell, and both Catherine and the veteran looked delighted to be there. William knelt on his knees to speak with the soldiers and hear their stories. We can only imagine how moving and special those conversations must have been for the Duke and the veterans.
While the focus of the day is on the veterans, we know many readers are interested in Kate’s attire. Catherine wore a bespoke French blue coat by Alexander McQueen, seen previously in New Zealand on the Royal Tour, with a Locke & Co hat. The entire outfit has been seen before, ensuring that the focus of the day remained where it belongs – on our veterans.
Following their very English tea party, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a very somber and moving Commemoration Service at Gold Beach. Gold or Gold Beach was the Allied Forces’ nickname for the beach at Arromanches. The beach was a main landing site for the British soldiers during the Normandy invasions.
During the commemorations, the Duke of Cambridge gave a short speech, saying that “[it] is vital that this sacrifice, and the reasons for this sacrifice, are never forgotten.” William also laid a wreath at the War Memorial in Arromanches. It was a traditional memorial service, similar to the ones seen on Anzac Day or Remembrance Day.
Our favorite story of the day is not a royal event, but the tale of Bernard Jordan – an 89-year-old pensioner who snuck out of his English care home, boarded a train to France, and attended the Normandy D-Day celebrations. Bernard served during World War II and wanted to pay respect to his fallen comrades in arms. You can read the story here, but make sure to bring tissues. Bernard, thank you for your service. You are still very handsome.