France D-day invite for Elizabeth, Blair

25th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Nov 24 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac has invited Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair to France next June to commemorate the 60th annniversary of the Normandy landings, Blair said Monday.

LONDON, Nov 24 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac has invited Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair to France next June to commemorate the 60th annniversary of the Normandy landings, Blair said Monday.

"The president has kindly invited the queen and myself to participate in the commemoration of the 60th annniversary of D-Day," Blair told a press conference alongside Chirac after a Franco-British summit in London.

In 2004, the queen will also make a state visit to France and Chirac will visit Britain again to mark 100 years since the signing of the historic Entente Cordiale between the two countries.

Blair described the D-day commemorations as "another opportunity to demonstrate our common history and common values."

As part of the commemorations, hundreds of veterans are to sail from Portsmouth to France to reenact the events of "Operation Overlord" on June 6, 1944.

They will dock on the same Normandy beaches where British boats landed as part of an allied air, sea and land attack that became the first step to liberating Europe from Adolf Hitler.

Buckingham Palace confirmed later Monday that the queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will pay a state visit to France from April 5 to 7 next year to mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale.

The queen last visited France on Armistice Day - November 11 - in 1998, to unveil a statue of Britain's war-time prime minister Sir Winston Churchill and attend ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I.

She has made three previous state visits to France, most recently in 1992, when she visited Paris, the Loire valley and Bordeaux. Earlier state visits were in 1972, to Paris, Provence and Normandy, and 1957, to Paris and Lille.

© AFP

Subject: French news


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