Today’s 70th Anniversary of D-Day was filled with a variety of events commemorating the Allied invasion at Normandy.
The Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance was at the Bayeux Cathedral. In attendance, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, and Duchess of Cornwall, along with other dignitaries, and veterans.
Her Majesty lays a wreath at the British Military Cemetery in Bayeux.
The message: “In memory of the glorious dead.”
Prince Charles meeting with veterans.
Secretary of State Kerry.
President Obama with French President Francois Hollande.
Today’s sunshine and breezes were a far cry from what troops faced 70 years ago.
Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower wrote a message to the troops taking part in the invasion:
You are about to embark upon the Greatest Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you”
For many today, enormous pride.
The most distinctive part of the day’s many ceremonies: the faces that have seen so much.
Memories etched deeply.
70 years ago Marcella Le Beau was a nurse in Normandy.
William Lang was the only survivor from his plane.
From a British Army story:
He was the eleventh and last man to jump out of a Stirling aircraft that had been hit by anti-aircraft fire. The other nine paratroopers and six crew on-board were killed, with the aircraft’s wreckage and their bodies never recovered. Mr Lang, 91 from Southport, said: “If I didn’t attend these commemorations I would feel I was letting down my friends who died in Normandy.”
This is Sgt. Steve Garrard, a glider pilot on D-Day. The Sergeant was taken prisoner by Germans.
More from HM Armed Forces:
Tomorrow he will turn 92 and this is the first time he has been back to Normandy for the DDay70 anniversary. Steve spent the end of the war in a prisoner of war camp in Poland and was one of those who were marched by the Germans back into Germany when the Russians were advancing. When asked how he made it and he tapped his head and said ‘up here, I suppose’.
Ted Cordery was a Torpedoman serving aboard the HMS Belfast.
From the Royal Navy:
“I was swinging stretchers – more like pallets – on board from smaller boats with the first casualties from the beaches, as we had a large sick bay,” said Ted, aged 91. “I have never seen such injuries. Limbs missing, faces blown off – most of them had no chance of surviving.”
Peter Thompson spent his 19th birthday on Sword Beach.
A time of reflection.
President Obama: “Whenever the world makes you cynical… stop and think of these men.”
Thousands of miniature flags from the Royal British Legion offered a place on the back for messages.
There were ceremonies scheduled throughout the day at all of the five landing beaches. Prince William and the Duchess took part in events at Gold Beach.
Further along the French coast in Arromanches, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, attended a tea party for veterans, and each royal spoke separately with the silver-haired and beret-attired honorees.
From The Mirror‘s live blog:
At the veterans’ tea party, the Duchess of Cambridge was given a cheeky kiss by an 88-year-old former desert rat.
When Catherine sat down to talk to Arthur Jones in Arromanches, he asked her: “Is it OK to kiss a Princess?”
Laughing, she replied: “Of course it is.”
From Prince William’s speech, via The Mirror:
They gave up everything for our freedom. They lie now together in the beautifully kept cemeteries that lie on the coast.
It is essential too that we never forget the friends and companions of those veterans who gave everything on June 6 and during the days and months that followed.
Following his remarks the Prince placed a wreath on a memorial.
This service featured some enthusiastic singing, as veterans locked arms and sang along.
We move now to that which feels trivial in light of the day’s events, a look at sartorial selections.
The Queen will tour France in an old Renault during her state visit next week because none of Francois Hollande’s Citroens have the space to fit her large hats, it has been reported. But heads have been spinning at the Elysee Palace ever since the announcement after staff realised she would not be able to sit upright in either the pokey presidential Citroen DS5 or the larger C6 model if she wears any one of her large hats.
Ella Kay reports she wore “a diamond fringe brooch made for Queen Victoria using gems given by the sultan of Turkey.”
The garment is a custom version of two Alexander McQueen styles. Below, a graphic we made to try and show the different elements of the two pieces.
Both styles are still available at Net-a-Porter: the black version was originally selling at $3995, it is now $2796, about 30% off, and the sky blue coat is discounted by 50%, from $3875 to $1938. At Alexander McQueen the black coat is 40% off, now priced at $2399.
Kate accessorized with her Sylvia Fletcher for Lock and Company hat.
We first saw it at the Princess cruise ship naming ceremony in June of last year.
Kate was in a new pair of shoes.
There is some thought the shoes could be from Russell & Bromley, Ashley Marie suggests on the WKW Facebook page that Kate could be wearing the company’s ‘Power‘ style (left), or perhaps the ‘Plunge‘. Both are Stuart Weitzman designs.
The Duchess also carried the Mulberry Bayswater clutch we’ve seen previously, we show it during the recent tour of New Zealand and Australia.
With apologies to those expecting a post more focused on apparel and accessories, it just didn’t feel appropriate. Especially as the Duchess wore items we have seen previously, an effort on her part to keep attention on the veterans and the day’s ceremonies. Our next post will return to ‘normal’.
We leave you a few lines from Laurence Binyon’s classic Ode of Remembrance and sunset at Normandy this evening.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
- follow the British Monarchy’s Storify feed here, its Instagram page is here
- the Operation Overlord Museum website is here, the Omaha Beach Museum website is here
- the Daily Mail’s coverage can be found here, the Mirror‘s coverage is here
- Stars and Stripes 70th Anniversary pages are here
- the Daily Telegraph’s live blog can be read here (there are some fascinating tidbits) and The Guardian‘s live blog is here
- Sky TV’s coverage is here, the BBC’s D-Day coverage is here, ITV’s video Kate and William arriving & chatting with veterans is here, the Daily Telegraph’s video is here
- the Royal Navy’s D-Day coverage is here, the Ministry of Defence Storify coverage is here
- the Royal British Legion website is here, its Facebook page is here
- the United States WWII Museum website is here, the Imperial War Museums website is here
- see LIFE magazine’s fabulous photos showing scenes from 1944, and how they look now
- the Royal British Legion’s Facebook page is here,