Queen stresses Anglo-German reconciliation

3rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 November 2004 , BERLIN - Queen Elizabeth II stressed reconciliation between Britons and Germans during a German visit that was to see her host a benefit concert Wednesday for rebuilding of war-ravaged Dresden Cathedral. Resplendent in a royal blue outfit with matching towering feathers-and-satin hat, the queen smiled at cheering crowds of schoolchildren waving Union Jack flags as she stepped off a special commuter train at Potsdam station outside Berlin. She was in Potsdam to visit Cecilienhof Palace, si

3 November 2004

BERLIN - Queen Elizabeth II stressed reconciliation between Britons and Germans during a German visit that was to see her host a benefit concert Wednesday for rebuilding of war-ravaged Dresden Cathedral.

Resplendent in a royal blue outfit with matching towering feathers-and-satin hat, the queen smiled at cheering crowds of schoolchildren waving Union Jack flags as she stepped off a special commuter train at Potsdam station outside Berlin.

She was in Potsdam to visit Cecilienhof Palace, site of the 1945 Potsdam Summit at which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Harry Truman and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin drew up plans for the division of post-war Germany.

"Multi-party democracy and the rule of law are again well-anchored in this part of Germany along with a free market economy," she added.

"Of course there are still challenges to be faced," she said in regard to soaring unemployment in eastern Germany of up to 25 percent in some places.

"Our two countries both face the necessity of going ahead with economic reforms, which is a daunting task," she said.

Earlier, Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit accompanied the queen on a tour of Berlin's war-ruined Neues Museum, which is being renovated by British architect David Chipperfield. Chipperfield gave her majesty a tour of the construction project, due for completion in 2009.

Reconciliation is the over-riding theme of the queen's visit, and Elizabeth was to preside at a gala concert Wednesday evening by the Berlin Philharmonic, with proceeds to go to finishing rebuilding of the Dresden Cathedral, destroyed during RAF bombing raids.

During the past week British and German newspapers have been battling over the question of a royal apology for Dresden.

The two-day British-American bombing raid on Dresden in February 1945 killed between 25,000 and 40,000 people, many of whom were civilian refugees. More than 80 percent of the city was destroyed.

Following the 1989 opening of the Berlin Wall and the 1990 German reunification, private donors raised money for rebuilding the church.

Among worldwide sponsors is the Dresden Trust led by the Duke of Kent, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, which financed the replica cross and orb crowning the rebuilt cupola as a symbol of British-German reconciliation.

Reconstruction of the church started in 1994. The exterior shell was finished in June 2004.

According to the British embassy the hope is that the gala will raise a big chunk of the remaining EUR five million needed to complete the project. So far the reconstruction has cost over EUR 80 million.

DPA

Subject: German news  

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