Queen's Guards lead Bastille Day parade

13th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 13 (AFP) - Queen Elizabeth II's Grenadier Guards will lead the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris on Wednesday as France and Britain celebrate the 100th anniversary of their colonial-era Entente Cordiale.

PARIS, July 13 (AFP) - Queen Elizabeth II's Grenadier Guards will lead the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris on Wednesday as France and Britain celebrate the 100th anniversary of their colonial-era Entente Cordiale.

One hundred and two members of the celebrated British regiment - wearing their ceremonial red tunics and high black hats - will be at the head of the massive military parade on the Champs-Elysees.

Members of the Household Cavalry and the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery will march down the famed avenue with their French counterparts, and the Red Arrows from Britain's Royal Air Force will perform stunts to close the parade.

Entitled "From entente to concord", the parade is one of a series of events marking the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, the agreement that ended the historic cross-Channel rivalry and opened an unprecedented era of friendship.

In a message ahead of the July 14 parade, French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the Entente Cordiale had "sealed a common destiny for our two peoples, henceforth linked by blood spilled, history and common values."

Her British counterpart Geoff Hoon and Britain's chief of staff General Michael Walker will be among the guests of honour in the Paris grandstand for one of the last annual military parades in the Western world.

Alliot-Marie hailed the fact that despite their differences over Iraq, Paris and London have continued to work together on defence issues, notably taking steps toward cooperation in building future aircraft carriers.

Queen Elizabeth II travelled to France in April for a three-day state visit to mark the anniversary of the Entente Cordiale. British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a one-day visit to Paris in May on Europe Day.

French President Jacques Chirac will make a return state visit to Britain in November.

The Bastille Day parade will feature more than 300 military vehicles, about 100 aircraft and nearly 4,000 military personnel, including members of the French Foreign Legion and other army, navy and air force units.

A British Royal Marines band will perform at Wednesday's festivities.

France's Leclerc tanks will not roll down the Champs-Elysees this year, after Green party members of the Paris city council complained that they had caused too much damage to the capital's thoroughfares.

Alliot-Marie, who reviewed the practice runs for the parade on Monday at the Villacoublay air base outside Paris, attributed the damage caused by the tanks to a driving error.

July 14 marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, the event that sparked the French Revolution and led to the toppling of the monarchy and the executions of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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