Resistance landmark to host D-Day VIP lunch
Heads of state attending the 70th anniversary of World War II's Normandy landings will lunch together at a chateau which played a celebrated role in French resistance to the Nazis.
Dignatories including Queen Elizabeth II, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have been invited to sit down together on the anniversary of D-Day (June 6) at the 18th Century Chateau de Benouville, which is situated just a few kilometres (miles) away from the landing beaches where the liberation of continental Europe began, local organisers announced Monday.
During the war, the chateau was used as a maternity hospital and its female director, Lea Vion, was famed for offering a refuge for fugitive allied airmen and local resistance activists, as well as relaying crucial intelligence on German forces to the allies.
The full programme for the anniversary commemorations has yet to be announced but US President Obama and Britain's monarch have already confirmed their participation.
Currently, Putin is also expected to attend after French President Francois Hollande said last month that his invitation to the Russian leader would not be withdrawn in protest at Moscow's conduct in Ukraine.
© 2014 AFP