France says Queen welcome at D-Day memorial
France denies reports claiming that they have snubbed Queen Elizabeth ll and say she is welcome to attend the commemoration of the D-Day landings.Paris – France insisted Wednesday that Britain's Queen Elizabeth II would be welcome to attend a commemoration of the D-Day landings, denying reports that she had been snubbed.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be joined by US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Normandy landings commemoration in northern France, on 6 June.
But the queen has not specifically received an invitation from the French government, even though she was present for the 60th anniversary event in 2004, amid claims in the British press that she was annoyed at being excluded.
A spokesman for the French government, Luc Chatel, said that France had invited Britain to attend the ceremony and that it was up to Brown's government to decide who was to represent it.
"The Queen of England, as British head of state, is naturally welcome," he said, briefing reporters after a French cabinet meeting. "It's not up to France to decide who will represent Britain.
"Our contacts on this ceremony were members of the British government who wanted to take part in a ceremony which was from the start Franco-American," he said.
"6 June, 2009 is primarily a Franco-American ceremony," Chatel added, noting that the US president traditionally came to Normandy in his first year of office.
Earlier, a Buckingham Palace spokesman had said: "No invitation has been issued as yet to any member of the royal family." He would not comment on whether one had been expected.
The Daily Mail, which headlined its story: "Palace Fury at D-day Snub to Queen", quoted an unnamed senior Buckingham Palace source saying the royals had been keen to support the event and the situation was "very frustrating".
The D-Day celebrations mark the anniversary of the allied landings in France, then occupied by Nazi Germany, in 1944 which marked a vital turning point in the course of World War II.
AFP / Expatica